The author brings to life what it meant to be an adolescent 50 years ago, in an era of sexual repression when teenagers had difficulty buying contraceptives. As for pregnancy, many schools would not readmit girls known to have given birth, so a great deal of duplicity was involved in the whole process, including limiting weight gain so the mother could leave in the clothes she wore early in the pregnancy.
The author’s inner strength is obvious to readers, as is her intelligence. MacDonald aptly describes the “lava-like knot of humiliation, shame and rage” that accompanied her pregnancy as her boyfriend and eventual first husband went on with his life while hers was on hold in Phoenix. Readers will, through the eloquent prose, come to understand the rage and trauma inherent in growing up during such a restrictive, gender-biased time period in the U.S.
Takeaway: Readers looking for adoption stories who want to understand what life was like before birth control will appreciate this tale of coming-of-age trauma.
Great for fans of: Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away, Anne Petrie’s Gone to an Aunt’s, Ann Patchett’s The Patron Saint of Liars.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: C+