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Family lost and found in Mary Anna King's new memoir

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'Bastards' by Mary Anna King
'Bastards' by Mary Anna King
Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company

Mary Anna King's new memoir makes you laugh — and makes you wonder if it's okay to laugh.

Born poor in New Jersey in the 1980s, her four younger sisters were given up for adoption while she stayed at home in the wreckage of her parent's marriage. Her parents, she writes, were "great at making babies, but not so great at holding on to them." 

Eventually, Mary is sent off as well. She lands in Oklahoma with her maternal grandparents, who adopt her. Suddenly, through the legal technicality of adoption, her mother is her sister and her brother is her nephew.

King points out these darkly comic developments in her memoir "Bastards." It's a story of a family that's scattered across the country, and slowly pieced back together. 

She joined MPR News' Kerri Miller to discuss the book and the tightrope walk that is writing memoir.