Heather's Reviews > Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion

Choice by Karen E. Bender
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Mar 09, 2010

really liked it
Read from March 04 to 09, 2010

Suddenly I am reminded of how much I love to read memoir and personal narrative writing! While very emotional, I enjoy it.

Like the title suggests, there is a huge range of stories in this compilation. The first story starts with surrogacy, which even after considering the range of experience this book might cover, I hadn't expected to find- which was naive of me.

The stories that pulled most at me were the ones without choice: the stories of 16 year olds who got pregnant in the 60s and were never told of any option besides handing their children over to a family they would never meet, the stories of pregnancies ending at 5 months in order for the mother to live. The lack of choice there was heartbreaking. The women whose stories full of choice, whether they chose to continue or end their pregnancies, whether the abortion was effective or failed, whether adoption was really the "best" option, were far more empowering in comparison.

I guess that's why I agree with de Gramont's sentiment on page 320, "The truth is, my new reverence for the process of incubating human life had not undermined my pro-choice beliefs. It had solidified them." The amount of change I have experienced in the past 5 year of my life as a woman and as a mother has given me a new allowance and appreciation for the depth of human experience. "How much easier it is to tell people what to do, how to behave, when you refuse to see them as complicated. How hard it is, to see each person's emotional life as individual and precise, to understand that you cannot understand the whole of another person's burdens" (Bender, 332-333).

So yes, I enjoyed this book, despite the tears.
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