On the other side of shame
An extraordinary account of adoption and reunion
June 1961: Lynette Zinn, seventeen, Jewish and unmarried, trembles as her father rages about the pregnancy which she has managed to conceal for
seven months. The child, he declares, is a scandal and will have to be born in secret, put up for adoption and never mentioned again. Lynette’s protests go unheard.
March 2001: Antony Egnal, a successful physician living in Seattle, adopts a child. The experience triggers his curiosity about his own adoption and Antony wonders if, after 40 years, he can discover anything about his own biological parents.
June 2001: Lynette Langman’s world is shaken by a phone call. After half a lifetime, Antony finds his birth-mother and discovers a truth more awesome than he could have imagined.
On the Other Side of Shame is a non-fiction account of the history and aftermath of these dramatic events, mapping Lynette’s journey against that of her long-lost son. Antony’s approach and emotional responses to his birth-mother are exceptional, as are the stories that have unfolded since their reunion. Shielded identities and the barriers of a conservative era ensured that mother and son never consciously crossed paths, yet a string of uncanny coincidences mark their time apart.
This is a story about the power of shame and the strength of forgiveness, a story which crosses borders and generations. It examines the intricacies of the Langman/Egnal adoption and reunion saga through the eyes of the people most deeply affected, centred around the unusual circumstances which make this an extraordinary story.