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I Am Roe: My Life, Roe V. Wade, and Freedom of Choice Hardcover – May, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

No job, no home, no money and pregnant. Fleeing from the horror of a back alley abortion clinic, one woman became embroiled in one of the biggest court battles in US history. The final decision came three years too late for her though it changed the lives of many other women. Nearly 20 years later, Norma McCorvey stepped from the shadows and revealed herself as Jane Roe. This is her story. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

McCorvey, the pseudonymous plaintiff in the landmark 1973 case legalizing abortion, here candidly chronicles a rough life of struggle and survival. She was sent to a reform school in Texas, was raped by a male relative and, at 16, married an abuser. Pregnant and divorced, she found a home in Dallas's lesbian and gay subculture. She bore a daughter, whose custody was taken over by her mother, and gave up another baby for adoption. In 1970, age 21, pregnant and not wanting another child, she sought an abortion, claiming falsely that she had been raped. She met lawyer Sarah Weddington, who was looking for a pregnant woman to become plaintiff in a case challenging Texas anti-abortion laws. The suit dragged on, and McCorvey delivered a baby that she gave up for adoption. Drunk and suicidal, she was caught shoplifting by the manager of a food store who became her lover and helped her rebuild her life. McCorvey came out as a lesbian in 1989 and now has a business cleaning buildings. The Supreme Court eventually ruled for Roe in 1973. With the help of freelancer Meisler, McCorvey offers a direct, unsentimental and often harsh account of a real life at the heart of historical events. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060170107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060170103
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By BrownieBabe on July 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Only becoming familiar with Norma McCorvey after her conversion to Christianity, I wonder how she was so able to make a 180 degree switch regarding some of the things she said in the book. As I read more about her life after the book was written, I will probably understand.
The book was well-written. Everyone has a story, and McCorvey's story is not an uncommon one. Some parts of the book made me hurt badly for her, while others just made me angry at how she was so self-destructive and cared very little about those around her who did care (her father, for example). In light of her recent petition against the Roe decision, the conflicts between her and her well-intentioned lawyers are especially relevant. I think, to some extent, they knew that McCorvey would not have enough time to abort legally; had McCorvey had a little more anatomical and political savvy, she would have understood the same thing.
I suggest anyone who is interested in reproductive rights--regardless of their beliefs--to read this book. Check it out from the library.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ghost Reader on March 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was obviously written largely by "Roe's" cowriter, given her lack of education. However, it is well-written and quite absorbing. I never knew anything about this person who brought about legal abortion-I guess I always assumed she was a well-educated and self-sufficient woman who wanted to challenge the law's stance on a woman and her body. As it turns out, that is completely the opposite life circumstances of this person. She was poor, uneducated, abused, and spent time in reform school as an adolescent. She had her first baby taken from her by her mother (an absolutely horrible idea in this case), gave up her second one, and because the wheels of the legal system take so long to move, had to complete her third pregnancy (the one in question for the court case) even though she "won" eventually. Even then, it doesn't appear she realized the impact of this case. I wish her well and hope she has found peace in her life. The book gives you a clear look at a life that was definitely not conducive to sane motherhood. It does not have any religious tentacles to reach out and try to condemn the woman, just a troubling look at a troubling life. This is a good read, but be prepared to shake your head at the obstacles this woman has faced all her life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Norma Leah McCorvey (born 1947), under the legal pseudonym "Jane Roe", was the plaintiff in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that made abortion legal in this country. She later became a Christian, as detailed in her book, Won by Love: Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe V. Wade, Speaks Out for the Unborn As She Shares Her New Conviction for Life.

She wrote in the first chapter of this 1994 book, "I do not fit many people's idea of a historical role model. For one thing, I am a woman who loves women. For much of my life, I have openly lived a lesbian lifestyle." (Pg. 2) Later, she elaborates, "All I knew was that I belonged with these other women... We were women who loved women... What we were, because we were lesbians, were outsiders. Together." (Pg. 65) She recalls, "I came out... in the fall of 1989... I've had few fears or problems about answering questions about my sexuality or my lifestyle." (Pg. 195)

When she was pregnant for the third time and wanted an abortion, she consulted a lawyer, who "looked at me, and said the most important words I'd hear in my entire life: Norma... I know a couple of young lawyers who are looking for a pregnant woman who wants an abortion. A woman just like you. The reason is, they need her to be a plaintiff in a lawsuit, to help them overturn the Texas law against abortions." (Pg. 113) She agreed the next day, because "the honest truth is that ... I was simply at the end of my rope. At a dead end. I just didn't know what else to do." (Pg. 115) [Ironically, since the case lasted three years, she did NOT have an abortion (pg. 137); her baby was put up for adoption.] She also admits frankly that, contrary to her early claims that she had been raped (Pg.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sunshine on November 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book to read the complete change of heart from Norma McCorvey. I bought Won by Love, the story of her conversion from pro-choice to pro-life. In order to follow her journey I needed to read her first book first. It confirmed the fact that most women who have been sexually molested, raped, or abused self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and engage in promiscuous behavior.
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Format: Hardcover
Norma McCorvey’s first book is a gripping tale of her life. I hated to read much of her story and felt very bad for her while I was reading it. She recounts being molested as a child by her friend, later by a nun, and eventually abused by her husband. Her mother was cruel to her throughout her life, she has a failed suicide attempt, and battled drunkenness and substance abuse for years.

I did not care for the crude language used throughout her book. The “f” and “gd” words were frequent, and that really turns me off.

From a literary standpoint the book was poorly written. Sentence fragments, misplaced modifiers, and run-on sentences abound.

I read McCorvey’s second book (Won by Love) before I knew about this one. In that book she records how she pulled a 180 in her life. She is now a born-again Christian who ended her lesbian, drug addict lifestyle, and she is a pro-life spokesperson. It was funny reading this book knowing where she is now. All of her hate-filled criticisms of the “anti-choicers” and “terrorists” are absent from her second book.

If you want to know the real Roe, read her book Won by Love. But if you want to know her full story, I am Roe is an important part.
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