Set in the 1950's in the suburbs of New York, unmarried women were shamed into relinquishing their babies, WE NEVER TOLD is a slice of American history that will never come again. Right now, today, is the reckoning because those babies given up did not disappear. They grew up and began searching. Now middle-aged strangers are knocking on the doors of families that embrace them and families that reject them. Told from the narrator Sonya's point of view, WE NEVER TOLD is a coming of age saga about the corrosive influence of shame and how even a glamorous Hollywood mother like Sonya's has secrets that are best left secret.
The titles's true value is in Altman's fleshing out of characters and family dynamics in a style reminiscent of Wally Lamb.