“John Hart is your father” is seared in Edie White’s brain when AncestryDNA sucker-punches her at work in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Author Jeremy White’s wife, who was raised by a loving adopted family, had altruistically submitted a sample in hopes of healing an unknown woman’s nearly fifty-year-old wound. The Little Girl at the Bottom of the Picture: A Journey of Selfless Discovery immersively reveals how the resulting bombshell propels the two college sweethearts into this beautifully epic, transformational adventure that resolves a trio of daunting mysteries, including one plaguing an enthusiastic horde of gangster-adjacent Ukrainian Americans for two-thirds of a century.
Literally overnight, the baby of Edie’s adoptive family becomes the eldest sibling in a new, amazing family, fathered by a pacifist cited in two books for challenging David Duke at LSU with a bloody knife. Jeremy and Edie travel on COVID’s eve to Seattle, Austin, Chicago, and California wine country to meet her far-flung new folks, some of whom see her as a wonderful expansion of their incredibly loving families. Others see her as a bona fide miracle. And at least one person considers Edie the answer to a long-secret prayer that she didn’t expect to receive until the afterlife.
Edie’s selfless agenda is the heart of this powerful story of healing, and sets it apart from other works about similar searches. Our reluctant hero successfully dodges all the traps that could have turned this unicorn of a real-life family saga into a darker version of the insane yet heartwarming tale that it is. With a smattering of bittersweet moments, The Little Girl is heavy on happy reunions, including a mind-blowing, poetic parental reunion of sorts, one involving a local bookstore, no less. Transcending issues of genealogy, The Little Girl appeals to readers seeking empathy in a divided land, and authentic beauty in an increasingly ugly world.