Next book



Ohden’s perseverance is inspiring, but the presentation lacks the emotional and literary heft her important story warrants.

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.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-87486-788-6

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Plough

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

Next book


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Next book



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Close Quickview