"John Hart is your father" is seared in Edie White's brain when AncestryDNA sucker-punches her at work in Baton Rouge in 2018. Author Jeremy White's wife, who was raised by a loving adopted family, had altruistically submitted a sample in hopes of healing an unknown woman's nearly fifty-year-old wound. The Little Girl at the Bottom of the Picture: A Journey of Selfless Discovery immersively reveals how the resulting bombshell propels the two college sweethearts into this beautifully epic, transformational adventure that resolves a trio of daunting mysteries, including one plaguing an enthusiastic horde of gangster-adjacent Ukrainian Americans for two-thirds of a century.
Edie's selfless agenda is the heart of this powerful story of healing, and sets it apart from other books involving searches for biological family. Our reluctant hero successfully dodges all the traps that could have turned this unicorn of a real-life family saga into a darker version of the insane yet heartwarming tale that it is. With a smattering of bittersweet moments, The Little Girl is heavy on happy reunions, including a mind-blowing, poetic parental reunion of sorts, one involving a local bookstore, no less.
It's also worth noting this story occurs on the eve of 2020. A post-COVID read brings several themes to the fore, including social and racial justice, police brutality, and the value of science. Additionally, insidious homophobia in 1950s Middle America lies at the root of our heartbreaking titular mystery. The Little Girl also reminds us of a recent time when air travel was less perilous and we could safely hug strangers. In an age characterized by sickening inhumanity, this work celebrates the best of our humanity. Transcending issues of genealogy, The Little Girl appeals to readers seeking empathy in a divided land, and authentic beauty in an increasingly ugly world.