Phyllis Laatsch's Reviews > The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade

The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler
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Jul 16, 12

Read in July, 2012

I don't know if it's because I read it so fast, but it got fairly repetitive. OK, so I still cried through a lot of it.

I think it could have been a lot stronger if the author had sought out other adopted children. She could even have taken the time to find mothers who had kept their babies in similar conditions - and their "bastard" children. There are a few mentions of them from time to time, but not the direct, first-person narrative like the mothers who surrendered their children.

It could have done with better organization. I think it would have had more impact if the various sections had really focused on one piece of the story each: pregnancy, family/community reactions, time in the maternity home, childbirth, signing away the child, a lifetime of regret, reunions. Instead, the long narratives especially had already told us all the details before we got to the chapter that was supposed to be about that specific aspect.

Essentially, though, as a source document and as an antidote to people who discount and belittle the mothers who would give up their child for adoption, this is amazing and moving.

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