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Reviewed by Susan van der Walt for Readers' Favorite
Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick's alcoholic mother abandoned him after birth. Thus, Vitaly stayed at the hospital's nursery until he was old enough to live in an orphanage. Vitaly: The Misadventures of a Ukrainian Orphan tells the inspiring story of a young boy's search for love in a place where he is one of many, and their caregivers meet only their physical needs. He dreams of a family of his own. Still, when he goes to live with his foster parents, he discovers that although life is better than in the orphanage, he still isn't truly accepted as family and loved unconditionally. We see the tragedy of people adopting orphans for monetary gain while giving only minimum care and little love to them.
Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick struck me with his zest for life. Even in his less-than-ideal circumstances and with meager possessions, he finds joy in the simple things in life. His curious nature often lands him in trouble, but this curiosity also enables him to excel in school, vocational school, and eventually university. I am amazed that Vitaly believed in God despite his circumstances and atheist indoctrination by the USSR and often prayed to Him as a young boy. He loves reading the Bible and strives to live a life pleasing to God. I gained the insight that what matters are not physical possessions, but the relationships we build. Vitaly also shows that who we become depends on our choices. People often took advantage of him, but he still developed a giving spirit, while his friend Serhij gave in to greed. Reading Vitaly was indeed an enriching experience.