Launching Umbilicus

Author, Paula Gruben speaks to a crowd at the launch of her book, Umbilicus.

Indie author and Northcliff resident, Paula Gruben, launched her debut novel at Skoobs, Theatre of Books in Montecasino on 2 August.

The highly successful event was well attended and was hosted by Skoobs events manager, Deborah du Plooy.

While the aptly named Umbilicus is about an adoptee’s journey in discovering her biological roots, it also informs all involved in the adoption process, the adoption triad as it is known, which includes the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the adoptee. An adoptee herself, Gruben initially wrote the book as a memoir. But later decided it would have much more of an impact as an autobiographical novel.

Umbilicus opens the dialogue on adoption as there is still so much secrecy, shame and stigma attached to it,” said Gruben on the reason for writing the book. “There are still massive question marks and we need to ensure a new generation of mentally healthy adoptees.”

One of the poignant moments of the launch was when attendees who were members of the adoption triad – adoptees, adoptive parents, and a birth mother commented on the impact the book has had on them. Umbilicus is written in the second-person narrative and provides each perspective’s true voice.

But Gruben wants to reach a wider audience with this book as Umbilicus addresses more than just adoption. It also focusses on teenage and crisis pregnancy, abortion, suicide, and self-identity.

“My mission is to engage, liaise and educate teenagers on some of the issues Umbilicus discusses.” South Africa has a high rate of abandoned babies and Gruben believes teenagers need to know of the many options available to them.

“A weight has been lifted in telling this story. Family is more than blood,” she said.

In the last seven months, Skoobs has launched 70 indie authors. “We are proud to launch Paula Gruben’s Umbilicus, which is the first this Women’s Month,” said Du Plooy.

Gruben intends to release two more books following Umbilicus.

Details: Skoobs Theatre of Books, Montecasino, 011 513 2800; paulagruben.com for online stockists.

  AUTHOR
Mel Naidoo
Sub Editor

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