From Publishers Weekly
It was 1965 when Hall was expelled from her New Hampshire high school, shunned by all her friends, made to leave her mother's home, and kept hidden from sight in her father's house—all because she was a sexually naïve 16-year-old, pregnant by a college boy who wasn't all that interested in her anyway. And in this memoir, chapters of which have been published in magazines, Hall narrates this bittersweet tale of loss. After childbirth her baby was put up for adoption so fast, she never had even a glimpse of him. She finished high school at a nearby boarding school, then soon wandered to Europe and eventually found herself just walking, alone, from country to country. Somewhere in the Middle East she scraped bottom and repatriated herself. She accumulated another lover and had two children, before her first son, the one she was forced to abandon, made contact. Making peace with him was deeply healing. This painful memoir builds to a quiet resolution, as Hall comes to grips with her own aging, the complexities of forgiveness and the continuity of life. (Apr.)
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In 1965, Hall, called Meredy, becomes pregnant at 16. Four-and-a-half months later, maternal instincts kick in. She pauses before doing a somersault in gym class, and her secret is exposed. Expelled from school, she is shunned by her small New Hampshire community and turned away by her mother. Sent to live with her father and his chilly new wife, she hides upstairs while they have dinner parties, waiting out her pregnancy like a prison term. This rousing memoir tells the story of how Meredy was forced to give her baby up for adoption (was, in fact, drugged during labor to prevent any contact at all) and pushed into a vagabond existence. She lives on a boat, wanders penniless around the Middle East, and eventually settles in Maine. Divorced and raising two young children, she gets a phone call: her son is found. Written in spare, unsentimental prose, Without a Map
is stunning; Meredy's reunion with her grown son (who was raised in poverty with an abusive father) is the highlight. Book groups, take note. Emily CookCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved