While memoirs by foster parents and adopted children crowd bookshelves, we haven't heard as much from the women who've given up those children for adoption. McElmurray may seem a typical birth mother—a working-class teen unprepared to raise a child—until she describes her own upbringing. When McElmurray was 12 or 13, her mother, gripped by a cleanliness fetish, still insisted on supervising her on the toilet, wiping her bottom. Both daughter and father had to shower in the garage before coming inside. Meals, too, could be messy, so they ate only processed, packaged foods. When McElmurray started dating, her mother's vigilance heightened, and before long, her compulsions resulted in divorce. McElmurray moved in with her father, but thanks to his lax supervision and lack of contraceptive coaching, she was pregnant at 15. In Kentucky in 1971, a girl could run away and do drugs for a while—which McElmurray did—before coming home and marrying. Ignoring her father's pleas, the author still signed the baby over for adoption. That McElmurray made it out of her trailer-park marriage, out of secretarial and fast food jobs, through college and on to teaching creative writing courses is admirable. That she reached the self-awareness to birth this remarkable memoir is a gift both to her son and to readers. 22 photos.
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This is an important book for all interested in adoption and especially the birthmother experience to read. Read morePublished on December 15, 2005 by maryanne
I stopped reading this book shortly after page 96 where the author writes "None of this story is the absolute truth of course. Read morePublished on May 20, 2005 by Critical Reader