Ohden’s straightforward and courageous memoir revolves around her efforts to find her birth parents and understand her identity after discovering at age 14 that she survived a late-term abortion. She was raised in a loving, religious, and economically pinched family in rural and small-town Iowa, and her faith and love of family inform her reactions to her situation and journey. She explores her political activism, which grew organically but was helped along by the negative reaction she received in college and beyond to her story and her pro-life feminism. Occasionally she jumps to conclusions that seem to validate her political beliefs, and at times she takes an extreme position, but her writing generally offers a stridency formed from deep conviction. Readers of all stripes will feel compassion for the circumstances of her birth, her embarrassment and shame, and her self-harming behaviors. Her biological parents’ tragic narrative and her own miscarriage are among the book’s most poignant moments; others who have miscarried will recognize her reactions. Equally touching are the relationships she forges with the biological relatives who weren’t involved in her birth mother’s decision to attempt to end her pregnancy. Ohden’s beautifully open book is unlikely to change minds on either side of the abortion debate, but it does personalize that debate in a unique way. (Jan.)
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Winner, 2018 Christianity Today Book Award, CT Women Silver Medal Winner, 2018 Illumination Book Awards, Biography & Memoir
Melissa Ohden is fourteen when she learns she is the survivor of a botched abortion. In this intimate memoir she details for the first time her search for her biological parents, and her own journey from anger and shame to faith and empowerment.
After a decade-long search Melissa finally locates her birth father and writes to extend forgiveness, only to learn that he has died without answering her burning questions. Melissa becomes a mother herself in the very hospital where she was aborted. This experience transforms her attitude toward women who have had abortions, as does the miscarriage of her only son and the birth of a second daughter with complex health issues. But could anything prepare her for the day she finally meets her birth mother and hears her side of their story?
This intensely personal story of love and redemption illumines the powerful bond between mother and child that can overcome all odds.
"A memoir of mothers, daughters, adoption, and abortion. . . . Ohden’s story is complicated, and she has impressively overcome significant emotional challenges. . . . [Her] perseverance is inspiring." —Kirkus Reviews
"Very personal and compelling." —LA Review of Books
"Ohden’s straightforward and courageous memoir revolves around her efforts to find her birth parents and understand her identity after discovering at age 14 that she survived a late-term abortion. … Her beautifully open book is unlikely to change minds on either side of the abortion debate, but it does personalize that debate in a unique way." —Publishers Weekly
A memoir of mothers, daughters, adoption, and abortion."Many people think abortion is a discrete act that has no lasting effect," writes Ohden, the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, in her debut book. "They are so wrong! Abortion can't be compartmentalized and is never forgotten. And its effects ripple through generations." The author shares her feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and anger when she learned, at age 14, that she was the survivor of a botched abortion procedure. Weighing less than 3 pounds at birth and suffering from respiratory distress, she was barely surviving when her adoptive parents took her home at 2 months old. Ohden always knew she was adopted: "it just was—a fact of life as ordinary as the sunshine in the morning, the starlight in the evenings, and the cozy walls around me." Thankfully, she was supported by a loving family and welcoming church community. A childhood argument with her adoptive sister revealed the author's birth story, and she spent a decade struggling to come to terms with having been an unwanted baby, turning her experience and insights into a rewarding career in social work. Upon locating her birth father, she reached out to him only to discover that he had passed away; her birth mother proved harder to locate. At the same time, her life continued forward with marriage and her own experiences with birth, miscarriage, and a second daughter, who was born with significant medical issues. She also continued to work toward resolving her religious beliefs with her experiences. Ohden's story is complicated, and she has impressively overcome significant emotional challenges. Unfortunately, the writing is merely average, and the narrative has the feel of a transcript or summary of events and emotions and how her faith saw her through. Ohden's perseverance is inspiring, but the presentation lacks the emotional and literary heft her important story warrants.
|Publisher:||Plough Publishing House, The|