Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Girls Who Went Away

I was needing to do some research for a character in a piece of fiction I am working on, and found this amazing book by Anne Fessler. It uses hundreds of interviews with women who became pregnant as teenagers, and were forced to relinquish their babies back in the 40's, 50's and 60's (pre Roe v. Wade era). Amazing stories of the neighbors being told the girl was going to live with an aunt, or the girl having to hide out in her own room until after the delivery, or lying down in the backseat of the car until they got out of town for weekly doctor visits.
My favorite story: one father who would go and visit his daughter every week at the home for unwed mothers (the mother would not visit or speak to her) and take her and three of her pregnant roomates out on the town for ice cream. She still laughs when she thinks of it: her father and four hugely pregnant teenage girls, sitting at the ice cream shop together, laughing and carrying on. She wonders what the townspeople must have thought.

It's a terrific read, and an important history to know.


My nephew, throwing out the first pitch at last night's Mariner's game.


32poems said...

You might enjoy Ann Patchett's novel called The Patron Saint of Liars.

Peter said...

Thanks D: Another friend mentioned that same book to me today. I will have to check it out!

Pamela said...

Ann Patchett was my teacher for Forms of Fiction. If you like that book (and I cannot imagine who wouldn't), you'll want to read them all. Bel Canto is genius.