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Without a Map: A Memoir by Meredith Hall

Without a Map: A Memoir

by Meredith Hall

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This memoir starts with a harsh and haunting premise; Meredith (Meredy) is the beloved third child in a family where love really counts. Even though her father leaves and remarries when Meredy is 10, she has strong memories of love and nurturance from her father (while also recognizing, in retrospect, his extreme self-centeredness). She is a smart, pretty 16-year old who belongs to her classmates, church family and town...until she becomes pregnant and is literally shunned by her community and her own family. She gives her child up for adoption and spends years missing him.

Beautifully written, with a strong, sure voice. Highly recommended. ( )
  Lcwilson45 | Jun 20, 2010 |
Candid. Beautiful. ( )
  JenLynnKnox | Oct 11, 2009 |
Wow! And that's a very soft wow, filled with wonderment at this book so bursting with truth and filled with pain, anger and forgiveness. On the surface, this could simply be viewed as a book about a woman who got pregnant at sixteen, gave up her baby, and had a very difficult time of things for the next twenty-five years or more. But, if you dig just a ltlle deeper, this is simply a story of what it means to be fully human, to live a life warts and all and finally try to understand what it all means. Meredith Hall does all this in her wonderful memoir,Without a Map. She presents herself as child, as daughter, as a mother. This is a truly "examined life," and anyone who reads it will relate and will feel richer for having read Hall's story. Here is a tiny sample of what glitters in this story, something that, when I read it, I recognized, as will anyone who has ever lost a parent without having the chance to verify something - that love went both ways. She speaks of a meeting with her father.

"He is eighty-four years old. I have a startling need to unburden my father of whatever guilt or regret he may carry, to say good-bye to him, to tell him I love him. I am afraid that he will die and I will be left with the unending conversation that has hung in the lost time between us all these years. There are many, many things I wish I could say to him ..."

Hall got to have that conversation, the one I never did have with my father. When I read these lines - and others - I wept. For this is a book about family ties - the ones that held and the ones that didn't. It will make you weep. This is a beautiful book, by a woman who has learned things about life the hard way. If Meredith Hall never writes another book, she will be remembered. This one is enough. ( )
1 vote TimBazzett | Sep 6, 2009 |
Good. I enjoyed reading a memoir about a woman who had given her baby up for adoption in the mid-60s, as it reminded me how my birthmother might have felt. ( )
  DHKidd | Apr 28, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807072745, Paperback)

Meredith Hall's moving but unsentimental memoir begins in 1965, when she becomes pregnant at sixteen. Shunned by her insular New Hampshire community, she is then kicked out of the house by her mother. Her father and stepmother reluctantly take her in, hiding her before they finally banish her altogether. After giving her baby up for adoption, Hall wanders recklessly through the Middle East, where she survives by selling her possessions and finally her blood. She returns to New England and stitches together a life that encircles her silenced and invisible grief. When he is twenty-one, her lost son finds her. Hall learns that he grew up in gritty poverty with an abusive father—in her own father's hometown. Their reunion is tender, turbulent, and ultimately redemptive. Hall's parents never ask for her forgiveness, yet as they age, she offers them her love. What sets Without a Map apart is the way in which loss and betrayal evolve into compassion, and compassion into wisdom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:41 -0400)

"Meredith Hall grew up bonded to her insular New Hampshire community, comforted by the hallmarks of belonging: perfect attendance in Sunday school, classmates who seemed more like cousins, teachers who held her up as a model student, a mother who loved her unconditionally. Then, at sixteen, she became pregnant, and all at once those who had held her close and kept her safe turned their backs." "The same day in 1965 that Meredith was expelled from school, her mother told her "You can't stay here." Her father and stepmother reluctantly offered Meredith a cold sanctuary until she gave birth to the child she gave up for adoption. Then she was banned from her father's home forever. For the next decade she wandered, lost to society and to herself. Slowly, Meredith began stitching together a life that encircled her silenced and invisible grief." "When she was twenty-one years old, Meredith's lost son found her. She learned that he has grown up in gritty poverty with an abusive father - in her own father's hometown. Their reunion was tender and turbulent, a renaissance. Meredith's parents never asked for her forgiveness, yet as they aged, she offered them her love. Without a Map charts an extraordinary path in which loss and betrayal evolve into compassion, and compassion into wisdom."--Jacket.… (more)

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Beacon Press

2 editions of this book were published by Beacon Press.

Editions: 0807072737, 0807072745

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