fraserette (fraserette) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 2: Gone to an Aunt's

Book Description from amazon: Thirty or forty years ago, everybody knew what that phrase meant: a girl or a young, unmarried woman had gotten herself pregnant. She was “in trouble.” She had brought indescribable shame on herself and her family. In those days it was unthinkable that she would have her child and keep it. Instead she had to hide. Most likely she would be sent away to a home for unwed mothers, where she would stay in secrecy until her baby was born and given up for adoption. “Gone to an aunt’s” was the usual cover story, a fiction that everyone understood but no on talked about –until now.

In Gone to an Aunt’s, journalist and long-time television host Anne Petrie takes us back into these homes for unwed mothers. Most cities in Canada had at least one home, several as many as five or six, most of them run by religious organizations. Here, in institutional settings, the girls were kept out of sight until their time was up and they could return to the world as if nothing had happened.

Seven women –including the author – recount their experiences in Gone to an Aunt’s, talking openly, some for the first time, about how they got pregnant; the reaction of their parents, friends, boyfriends, and lovers; why they wound up in a home; and how they managed to cope with its rules and regulations –no last names, no talking about the past –and the promise of salvation that could come only through work and prayer.

Gone to an Aunt’s is a profoundly moving and compassionate –even alarming – account. It comes as a reminder that we not get too wistful for the supposedly innocent times before the sexual revolution. That innocence, Petrie shows vividly, was a charade made believable only because the thousands of girls who had broken the rules were hidden away.

Review: I really enjoyed this book, especially the fact that it came with a Canadian perspective. The idea that being an unwed mother having a baby was so scandalous that you had to be sent away seems so silly now. The authour explains the story of 6 women and their journeys through the homes and system. This has always been a curious subject to me..what were the homes like? What did they do? Didn't anyone notice? The book tackles these questions and more. Unfortunately I did not like the way the story was laid out. I got confused about which girls were where as each chapter focused on a subject rather than a chapter per girl. At times the authour interviewed girls outside of the original 6. I rated the book four out of 5 stars on goodreads. The book has peaked my curiosity and I have been looking more into the subject.

  • January 2021 - Books 1 to 6

    1. The Long Way Home by Louise Penny Inspector Gamache is now retired in Three Pines when he’s recruited to help one of his friends find her…

  • December 2020 - Books 71 to 76

    71. Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park A young mixed-race girl moves with her widowed father to a fledgling South Dakota town in 1880. This is the…

  • Book 12

    Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger My rating: 5 of 5 stars Wow, did I love this one. A girl and her ghost dog, Kirby? Yes please. Let me start…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded