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Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict Paperback – October 6, 2009
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“The strength of [Impossible Motherhood] lies in exposing the need to talk about abortion as a public health issue. It's impossible to take abortion out of the realm of morality, religion and politics and place it solely in the medical realm, along with diabetes and cancer and high cholesterol. But it is crucial to see it, first and foremost, as an issue of the human body: a woman's body.”—The Miami Herald
“Extraordinary and incendiary…a potential launching pad for a discussion about abortion that is more personal than political…Vilar turns her experiences into a reminder that the complexity of abortion extends beyond the scientific and political arenas…Impossible Motherhood doesn’t shy away from the wounds that are part of Vilar’s journey toward independence; it embraces them, making her remarkable story full of assurance but free of bitterness.”—Bitch Magazine
"Impossible Motherhood tells why [Irene Vilar] had 15 abortions in 16 years…How is that humanly possible in either sense of the word—the moral or the physical? In the telling, however, it seems as inevitable as sunrise...Vilar, who eventually escaped this horrid cycle to have two children, writes not to excuse, but to explain herself." —Elle Magazine
“In Impossible Motherhood Vilar does exactly what the best memoirists do: She tells us the truth about everything, even when the truth utterly confounds….[Vilar] tells [her story] to us with courage and grace and a true writer’s skill.”—The Oregonian
"Vilar does not mean to advocate on either side of the abortion debate; ranging far beyond the politics of abortion, her book is a controversial and intense tale of generational and national trauma…[Vilar is] a writer of brutal honesty and profound intelligence."—ForeWord Magazine
"Impossible Motherhood is like a journey into a harrowing underworld but guided by Vilar's gifts and her light we emerge in the end transformed, enlightened, and oh so alive." –JUNOT DIAZ , AUTHOR OF THE BRIEF WONDROUS LI FE OF OSCAR WAO
"I have never read a book like Impossible Motherhood, Irene Vilar's disturbing, heart-wrenching, and ultimately triumphant memoir, for the simple and understandable reason that no one of her gender has ever summoned the brutally raw, transcendent courage to write such a book–and yes, confess to such a troubling story." –BOB SHACOCHIS , AUTHOR OF EASY IN THE IS LANDS
"Irene Vilar's dramatic and beautifully drawn story forces the reader to confront the power of sexuality and procreation that often is the only power a young woman perceives she owns in this world. IMPOSSIBLE MOTHERHOOD is profound, raw, wrenching, and honest to the bone. Yet despite the title, its message is that no matter how intense the pain one has experienced, healing and redemption are in fact possible."—Gloria Feldt
About the Author
Irene Vilar was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Her memoir The Ladies' Gallery (Other Press, 2009) was a Philadelphia Inquirer and Detroit Free Press notable book of the year and was short-listed for the 1999 Mind Book of the Year Award. She is a literary agent and editor of The Americas series at Texas Tech University Press.
Top Customer Reviews
At eight, Vilar watched her mother commit suicide by leaping out of a car. At twelve, she read The Diary of Anne Frank and felt scarred--not from the horror of the Holocaust, but because she so deeply understood the plight of a girl who lived in an attic and had to ask permission "to exist in that smallest of holes." At seventeen, far from her home and broken family in Puerto Rico, she began a sexual relationship with her fifty-one year old college professor that lasted eleven years.
In Impossible Motherhood Vilar does exactly what the best memoirists do: she tells us the truth about everything, even when the truth utterly confounds. How was it that she could allow herself to conceive unwanted pregnancies over and over again? What compelled her to pursue and eventually marry the domineering man who insisted that to be with him Vilar had to "endure the burden of freedom" by remaining childless, yet rather than get a vasectomy preferred to stand by while Vilar--who was not only painfully young, but often suicidally depressed--had abortion after abortion? In prose that's searchingly honest and gorgeously wrought, Vilar takes us into the depths of her psyche and family history, daring to tell a story that's unsettling and complex and ultimately redemptive.Read more ›
Leaving her family behind in Puerto Rico, Irene attends Syracuse University in the Northern part of the United States, an environment as different from Puerto Rico as is imaginable. At fifteen, she is left by her father at the college, knowing no one, with little money and little life experience. Her family experiences are bleak. Her father is an alchoholic, who cheats on all the women in his life. Two of her brothers are drug addicts. Vilar falls under the influence of a professor at the university and ends up staying with him for a dozen years. He is sixty years old when they meet, and Irene is sixteen. He insists on his freedom, never paying her way but insisting that she pay for her food, and half of any vacations, as well as paying him rent. Since a child would tie him down, he insists on no children. His basic rule was that he took but did not give back to anyone.
Irene's only rebellion, as she saw it, was forgetting to use her birth control. Her pregnancies were acts of rebellion against this overpowering influence, a way of asserting her independance.Read more ›
There is no doubt that a young 15-year-old woman who begins an affair with a much older man is searching for "something." There is both an honest account of her life with her husband, as well as a follow-up analysis of what was happening to her. Even though she later separated from her husband and went into the same type of defeating relationship with another man, by that time, Irene was already addicted--to abortion as a means of control.
Irene places her life within her cultural background. This is most significant--and not so significant. A need for women to gain some control over their own life has been documented for all women, not just one culture. I must say though that the activities about using the women in Puerto Rico to test drugs are a devastating reality that we must never forget! When will the time come when profits for corporations are no longer more important than people?
Childhood for Irene included her mother leaving the home in her early years. Two of her brothers were drug addicts, one dying from his abuse. Her father was a quiet alcoholic and while he seemed to be "there" for the family, his loss of his wife deeply affected the entire family.
When Irene was 15, she was allowed to go to the United States to begin college.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Please don't buy this book. This is a sick woman who is using a bad childhood as an excuse for sick behavior. Guess what? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kimberly Henninger
I really liked this book. The content and stories were interesting, and the protagonist is incredibly easy to relate to, even if you've never had an abortion, lived in Puerto Rico,... Read morePublished on November 9, 2013 by Hiwaystar
For those of us who have endured difficult and manipulative relationships that may be seemingly remedied by the ideal of offspring, this book is a wonderful read from a sensitive... Read morePublished on March 5, 2013 by ReadingMaven
A haunting yet brilliant book! I could not put it down. Vilar offers a beautifully written work of her life's enormous challenges.Published on December 10, 2012 by AHC
For such a dark and controversial subject, Ms. Vilar writes with dignity and beauty. I believe the author is a courageous woman for writing about her experiences and to let us in... Read morePublished on August 25, 2012 by SoCalGirl
A starkly written, deeply personal memoir depicting the journey of a young woman leaving behind her troubled home life in Puerto Rico and starting a life of madness with an man... Read morePublished on January 13, 2012 by BemisReviewsBooks
Ok so explain this to me as if I am a two year old. The grandmother tries to shoot people in the congress under the misguided belief that this
will somehow free puerto rico of... Read more