Review: Het zevende kind, Erik Valeur

Het zevende kind Erik Valeur cover
In 1961 seven babies are born on the maternity unit B in the Ringhospital. All seven are given up for adoption and are brought to the Kongslund orphanage a day after their birth. In the next months all of them get new parents and a new future. Their origin seems to be totally forgotten. But on the eve of the 60th Anniversary of the existence of the orphanage a journalist and some of the children get an anonymous letter announcing that one of them carries a big secret. A secret that goes back to the time all seven of them spent together in the "elephant" room in the orphanage and their biological parents.

Erik Valeur was born in 1955 in Denmark. He is a journalist and off-stage commentator. He spend the first two years of his life in an orphanage himself and parts of this book are based on his experiences both as child in an orphanage and situations he walked into while doing research for his work.

I saw this book for the first time on a book expo back in September 2012. They only had a cover and a blurb available at that time but I was already intrigued and knew I had to get my hands on this book at some point.
This book touches a lot of sensitive subjects and it might even be a bit to much at points but Erik Valeur did a magnificent job binding them all together making it real.
A big part of the story is on the adoption of children and the mothers giving up theirs. They where not given the choice back than when they where alone and pregnant. Now the government is trying to change the abortion laws back to take that choice away from woman again. Both these situations are very touchy subjects already and give you enough to think on.
The head of the department of homeland security is involved in the whole situation. He is about to take over the highest position as prime minister in the country and he has ideas on abortion fueled by the fact that he and his wife where never able to get children. Besides his important role in the government he is also a patron for the orphanage of Kongslund. He has been involved with the orphanage since World War 2 and so has his, now retired but still solving "little problems", chief of police. You will probably get an idea by now how much intrigue this story holds but also the various subjects when you put all this together.
This makes that it is not a nice summer read. It is a story that needs some work and it will make you think about the choices the people are making. Every decision one of the characters makes leads to a new situation and it really takes 718 pages to unravel the whole story that has been going on for over 40 years.
The characters are many and especially around Ole Almind-Enevold are a lot of people with nicknames making it hard sometimes to keep track. What I really loved is that Valeur takes one of the main characters and introduces this person. You get some background of the person growing up and in what position this person is involved in the whole story. This does mean that with the seven children it takes a few pages to get them all together. There is not one character that is perfect, they all have their flaws and parts I hated and loved about them. The moment you think that one character is the sensitive and good it does something that ruins it. This does make it easy to find something to relate to in every character though.
The book makes for a great puzzle filled with intrigue and diversions making me just as confused as the characters.

Het zevende kind
Author: Erik Valeur
Publisher: De Bezige Bij
Pages: 718
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 9789023476
ISBN-13: 9789023476108
Original title: Det syvende barn
De Bezige Bij: Paperback
Het zevende kind
4 star review

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2 reacties

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12 July, 2013 delete

I'm an adoptive mother, so books about adoption always pique my interest. I'll have to give this one a go. Thanks for your review!

12 July, 2013 delete

Lovely review, I haven't read a book on a tough subject in a while! This sure sounds interesting!