Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood and Abortion

Overview

"What if we could glance through the curtains to see our neighbors? What if we could not just see their actions, but hear their thoughts and know their histories?" With these questions in mind, this moving collection of twenty-four personal essays-from both emerging talents and established authors-illuminates the complexity of women's reproductive decisions.

In addressing a wide range of choices-from giving up a child for adoption to adopting a child, from having an abortion to bringing a pregnancy to full term, ...

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Overview

"What if we could glance through the curtains to see our neighbors? What if we could not just see their actions, but hear their thoughts and know their histories?" With these questions in mind, this moving collection of twenty-four personal essays-from both emerging talents and established authors-illuminates the complexity of women's reproductive decisions.

In addressing a wide range of choices-from giving up a child for adoption to adopting a child, from having an abortion to bringing a pregnancy to full term, from using birth control or battling infertility to choosing not to have children at all-these brave women invite us into their lives, emotions, and physical struggles with searing honesty, grace, and humor. Together, these collected voices offer a look at the real, human stories behind the reproductive rights debate, and allow us to truly understand the meaning of the word "choice"-regardless of which side of the debate we stand on.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This anthology's content is aptly described by its title, and the quality of its prose is what makes it distinctive. Both published novelists, editors Bender (Like Normal People) and de Gramont (Of Cats and Men) have assembled essays by 24 professional women writers who illuminate their deeply personal stories of relationships and sexuality with insight and grace. The narratives encompass the trauma of illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade, life in a Florence Crittenden home for unwed mothers, agonizing decisions to seek now-legal abortions, and a horrific experience with RU-486. A concluding essay by Francine Prose on the language of Roe v. Wadeprovides a more explicitly political tone to an otherwise evenhanded collection. The cumulative stories of women of different ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientations reject the easy polarities of "choice" and "prolife" for the complexities of lived experiences. The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortionis a similar but more narrowly focused title; Bender and de Gramont's attention to the full range of women's reproductive choices should be welcomed in most libraries.
—Kathy Arsenault

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596920637
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen E. Bender is the author of the novel Like Normal People. Her fiction has appeared in magazines including the New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, Story, and the Harvard Review, and has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and Best American Mystery Stories. She lives in North Carolina with her family and is currently working on a novel and collection of stories.

Nina de Gramont is the author of Of Cats and Men, a collection of short stories. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines including Isotope, Nerve, Exquisite Corpse, Post Road, and Seventeen, and her first novel, Gossip of the Starlings, is forthcoming in 2008.

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Table of Contents


Introduction   Karen E. Bender   Nina de Gramont     1
The Ballad of Bobbie Jo   Jacquelyn Mitchard     17
It Could Happen to You   Sandy Hingston     29
If   Susan Ito     39
Bearing Sorrow: A Birthmother's Reflections on Choice   Janet Mason Ellerby     53
Thirty-four Years Old Today   Pam Houston     69
Personal Belongings   Kimi Faxon Hemingway     77
Termination   Deborah McDowell     95
Conceiving is Not Always the Same as Having an Idea   Catherine Newman     105
Harrison: Battling for the Chance to Make a Choice   Harriette E. Wimms     111
Mother's Day in the Year of the Rooster   Ann Hood     127
Donation   Ashley Talley     137
Summer, 1959   Carolyn Ferrell     155
A Normal Woman   Kate Maloy     173
The Decision   Katie Allison Granju     187
No Stone Unturned   K.A.C.     193
The Stories We Tell   Katherine Towler     207
A Complicated Privilege   Elizabeth Larsen     221
Woman of Heart and Mind   Denise Gess     237
Matters of the Heart: To Be a Dragon Slayer   Velina Hasu Houston     251
Trees in the Desert   Sarah Messer     269
Portrait of a Mother   Stephanie Andersen     289
Water Children   Nina de Gramont     305
Accidents: A Family History of Choice   Karen E. Bender     323
The Raw Edges of Human Existence: The Language of Roe v. Wade   Francine Prose     337
Contributor's Biographies     345
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