Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Without a Map

WITHOUT A MAP: A MEMOIR: Meredith Hall: Beacon Press: 2007: Biography: 248 pgs.

This is an engrossing story of a woman who grew up in the 60's and got pregnant when she was 16. That part of her story isn't unique; as with many other girls during that time her family and community shunned her and she was forced to give the baby up for adoption. What is unique is her life since.

She spent time living on a boat, then hitchhiking through Europe, slowly selling off everything she owned until she was penniless and alone in the Middle East. Eventually she moved to Maine and had two additional children. During that time her father cut her out of his life, and she constantly tried to comprehend a mother that would abandon her scared child when she needed her most.

I loved this story, she never adopts a "poor me" attitude, but deftly portrays the pain and longing that she feels for her parents and lost son. The conclusion of her story is very powerful without being overly sentimental. If you enjoy this type of memoir you would also like Jeannette Wall's The Glass Castle.


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