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Birth Mother: A memoir

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  34 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Pregnant from her first sexual encounter, a teenager living in a town of 3,000 Catholics keeps her secret from everyone until six weeks before the baby’s due date. Hustled out of town and hidden in the Iowa countryside within hours of finally confiding in her mother, she concocts a scheme that will allow her to raise her child, but can she win over any of the people who ...more
ebook, 50 pages
Published July 21st 2014 by Shebooks
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Jul 24, 2014 Dawna rated it really liked it
I read it in a morning--I couldn't put it down. Very poignant and beautifully written!
A.E. Stueve
Jan 07, 2015 A.E. Stueve rated it it was amazing
Denise Emanuel Clemen weaves a story of loss with a matter-of-fact voice that makes the loosing that much more difficult to handle. This, by the way, is a complement. As the child of a teenage mother who gave birth to me only a few short years after the events in BIRTH MOTHER, it's perfectly feasible to replace Clemen's child with myself, to alter my birth mother's decisions and imagine a different life. While I read the story, watching, like a wondering voyeur, as Clemen struggles through her ...more
Sep 28, 2014 Mandy rated it really liked it
This short but very moving and beautifully written memoir is the story of a 16 year old Catholic girl in small town America who finds herself pregnant and feels compelled to hide the fact for almost 8 months, such is her fear, confusion and shame. In the end, of course, the news comes out, and the book chronicles how Denise, her boyfriend and the whole family cope with the repercussions. This was at a time when such teenage pregnancies were even more traumatic for all concerned than they are ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing
I had the chance to finally read through this the other day, and it was heartbreaking and gorgeous all at once. Even more, it surprised me with how much restraint Clemen's owns, as this easily could've been a novel-length work, stretching out the secret and stress to epic-levels, but she chooses not to, giving perfect portions to understand what she went through and the struggles involved. Yes, I wanted more, but I can't say that as a bad thing here.

Clemen's words have always held a punch, and i
Nancy Rossman
Jul 28, 2014 Nancy Rossman rated it really liked it
Actually, I would give this a 4.5. The tight writing and the voice ring true: the author's dilemma, fear, shame, and options on what to do. She speaks to no one, she continues going to high school, and tries to deny the problem. This, of course, doesn't work. Feeling that her parents will disown her, she continues to hide all. What a surprise she has when they finally come to her. They have plans, her mother orchestrates a summer leave. All of the planning, however doesn't do much to alleviate ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Carley rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy.

I'm not usually a fan of short stories. It's just never enough for me. If I had known it was a short story, I probably wouldn't have applied for it. I'm so glad that I did. I've been there. I was unwed, 19 years old and pregnant. The author captured that unsettling time perfectly. The secrets, the shame, the despair, it was like I was reliving that period of my life again. Even though times are so different now and there's less of a stigma, when i
Aug 05, 2014 David rated it it was amazing
Clemen weaves together an amazing amount of emotional complexity in a short space in this memoir. The constant conflict between the evocation of the Catholic environment as both embracing and hostile is riveting. It doesn't mix either. It is both at once, just as the environment is both good and hypocritical in a way that cannot resolve. There is choice at the same time that there is no choice, inevitability. The prose, so vividly and warmly described, pulls you in and tears you up. It's both ...more
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