American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption

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To many, the image of the 1950s and 1960s is populated by nuclear families: a mother, a father, and their various children, all living more or less in domestic bliss. Even in less rosy images, adoption rarely shows its face. For many women and their children, however, adoption shaped their lives, whether they were adopted themselves, gained a child, or lost one.

The stunning American Baby presents just one facet of this unspoken reality. Margaret Erle, a Jewish girl, became pregnant as a teenager and was pressured into giving up her baby, even though she and her boyfriend had every intention of marrying and raising the boy together. Both a dual biography of Margaret and her son and a history of adoption practices in America, American Baby shines a light on a part of history that is so often left dark. It is at times a difficult read; Glaser doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities women faced in the middle of the century. All the same, it is a necessary one, as no part of history should be readily forgotten.

This book spoke to me in particular because my own family was shaped by adoption, in the same period Glaser examines. Nevertheless, I would recommend it to everyone. It’s a striking, fascinating read that left me eager to know more.


Reviewed By:

Author Gabrielle Glaser
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Penguin Random House
Publish Date 26-Jan-2021
ISBN 9780735224681
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2021
Category Uncategorized
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