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Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother Paperback – July 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Apprentice House (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934074659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934074657
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Morrison chooses her words expertly, bringing a sense of beauty and longing to every situation, even those that prove heart-breaking and difficult for her. . . Morrison is a keen observer of her situation, even while being so changed by it, and because of that, she brings a unique sense of compassion, introspection, and eloquence to her work." -ForeWord Reviews

"Innocent challenges the welfare stereotype and in so doing, exposes readers to the stories, struggles, and small mercies of life as a welfare recipient." -JMWW

About the Author

Barbara Morrison is the author of the memoir Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother. She conducts poetry and memoir workshops and speaks on women's and poverty-related issues. She is also the author of a poetry collection, Here at Least, with a new collection, Terrarium, coming May 2013. She tweets regularly about poetry, and her award-winning work has been published in anthologies and magazines. Visit her website and blog for more information and to join her mailing list.

More About the Author

Poet and writer, publisher, teacher, dancer. Still innocent; still mindful; still listening to the space between the notes.

www.bmorrison.com

Barbara Morrison, who writes under the name B. Morrison, is a poet and writer, a publisher, teacher, and dancer. A few years after graduating with a BA in English, her marriage collapsed and she found herself forced to go on welfare. It is this experience of a world very different from the one in which she grew up that she describes in her memoir, Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother.
She attributes part of her success in escaping poverty to her involvement in the world of traditional dance and music. She performed as a morris dancer for thirty years and continues to be active in the Country Dance and Song Society and several of its affiliates.

Barbara is also the author of a poetry collection, Here at Least, with a second volume, Terrarium, scheduled for 2013. She is currently working on a novel. Barbara has won multiple awards, been invited to speak as a featured author, and been published in magazines such as The Sun, Sin Fronteras, Scribble, and Tiny Lights. She conducts writing workshops and speaks on women's and poverty-related issues. She is also the owner of a small press and speaks about publishing and marketing. Come by her website (www.bmorrison.com) for more information.

Barbara's Monday Morning Books blog (www.bmorrison.com/blog) is where every week since 2006 she has been sharing insights about writing gleaned from her reading. You can also find her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bmorrison9) where she tweets regularly about poetry and on Facebook. Be sure to visit her GoodReads Author Page (www.goodreads.com/author/show/1453712.B_Morrison).

Customer Reviews

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To me, on the left, it is a movingly good description of an unfair class system that needs reform.
David Eberhardt
This is a great book for anyone who had similar circumstances, had to sign up for welfare to survive, but also had to survive the humiliation of the 'support.'
A. Feiring
I've been in the situation that Morrison describes; and, in this book, I recognize the gold of truth.
Paula

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jane Clegg on July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I could not put down this well-written and very readable memoir of a young woman who unexpectedly finds herself with no choice but to go on welfare. In addition to personal stories, the author presents vivid descriptions of fellow welfare mothers and what they had to go through in order to support their children. It is a very balanced and objective portrait of the welfare system and the necessity of providing a helping hand and a way to escape the welfare life and become productive, self-supporting citizens. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Feiring on August 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
I zipped through this satisfying book so quickly, only stopping to reread some very beautifully written passages.

Morrison's story is set in the mid 70's. In it she tells of how with the birth of two boys, she had no choice but to go on welfare. She touchingly writes about her need to hide the fact from her friends who lived in another city, as if believing what society teaches, that being a welfare mother is a disgrace. While the tale, especially as she rises up and succeeds, has a modern fairy tale quality about it, it is full strength reality.

This is a great book for anyone who had similar circumstances, had to sign up for welfare to survive, but also had to survive the humiliation of the 'support.' This is also an inspirational book for anyone who has been lost, especially if like Morrison, equipped with brainpower, even if not money. Poignant here are how small kindnesses get one through. As someone who knows the power of dance, I loved her dealing with a strange dance world, as one of her lifelines. Through out it all was her fierce responsibility to her children. An odd combination of facts, but she structures it into a lively memoir.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sherry Audette Morrow on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother by B. Morrison

As politicians once again excoriate welfare families to make political hay, "Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother" by Barbara Morrison is a must read for anyone who wants to gain perspective on living life at the mercy of the welfare system. Through her clear prose and honest accounting, Morrison recounts her days as a welfare mother and her struggle to navigate a bewildering system that even those administering it do not fully understand. Years ago, I had the privilege of publishing an excerpt of this, at that time unpublished, memoir. I am pleased to find that this compelling work has come to fruition and is serving as a voice of experience in our current, difficult political and economic landscape.

Disowned by her wealthy Baltimore family, abandoned by her husband, caring for one young child with another on the way, and faced with job prospects that would not cover the cost of childcare, let alone rent, utilities, food, clothing, and transportation to any job she could find, Morrison made the difficult decision to apply for welfare. Once in the system, she and her family lived at the whim of a bureaucracy that failed to understand the true limitations of poverty, that required its recipients to already have the trappings of a middle class existence before they could receive the aid they needed, and that penalized recipients for implementing thrift or attempting to pool their resources. Throughout her years of hardship, Morrison's greatest desire was to find a way out.

"Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother" dispels the myths and stereotypes endemic to the image of the welfare mother.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Eberhardt on March 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Barbara Morrison's book pays attention to detail- lovingly. Its description of the welfare system, the plight of poor mothers, poetically presents at once a survival guide and possible reforms. To me, on the left, it is a movingly good description of an unfair class system that needs reform.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas L. Glenn III on January 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Barbara Morrison’s Innocent ends with a quote from George Herbert: “Poverty is no sin.” That might have been the title. Morrison describes how she, a healthy, well-educated young woman, found herself with one baby and pregnant with another, abandoned by her husband and ignored by her parents. With no means of support, she was forced to turn to welfare to survive. She was subjected to every humiliation but persevered. She never wavered from her motto, The kids come first.

Running through her account is an undertone of scorn people on welfare live with, a baseless and sometimes unconscious assumption that the poor are lazy. That judgment is one step away from the dictum that poverty is a conscious choice. Hence current political convictions that unemployment benefits should be ended so that the shiftless will be forced to get a job.

The unspoken courage that Morrison’s book chronicles is akin to that of soldiers in combat: risk doesn’t matter—you do what you have to do. Hers is a story both sobering and inspiring.

—Tom Glenn, author of Friendly Casualties and No-Accounts
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebekah S. Formby on December 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you were looking for a review of the entire welfare system, this is not it. Morrison writes about the 1970's system of welfare, which has been entirely revamped since the time she writes about. This does, however show how hard it can be for a single mom with no support system. This is more a personal story of survival, not a story of welfare.
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