Reunion–a mother and child reunite

REUNION, OR THE HOLE IN TIME

Copyright 2014 by Paula Friedman Continue reading

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Single Mother, Birth Mother–Share Your Experience

I am both the reunited first mother of my older son and the former Welfare mother of my younger son. Reading recently of the hardships confronting a new single mother, I remember how hard it is, the decision we each confront to raise or yield our beloved newborns. I know how the loss of our babies to adoption tears us apart, yet how, alternatively, social oppressions may crush upon our children, to whatever extent we cannot hold oppression off, if we raise our kids alone.

Halfway through my novel The Rescuer’s Path, a middle-aged woman who had relinquished her baby to adoption long before, and the twenty-something woman who’d been that baby, struggle through hope and loss toward reunion. Their thoughts and fear, hope and joy reflect the hole in time, the sense of not-there–of a would-have-been world–that pervades adoption. I’ve written about this before–in the online collection Poems of Adoption, in my “Reunion” essay in the anthology Touched by Adoption (2000, Green River), and elsewhere.

But only twice did my poetry or prose evoke what it is to raise a child alone, on Welfare, with no social supports. First, in “You!”–a brutally honest poem, winner of a 2005 Oregon State Poetry Association Award; second, in a nearly published memoir, The Baby Book.

If you have lived the experience, you know. Even to glance into blogs, fb sites, listserves, or printed books that deal with mothers trying to raise whole a newborn alone, or to let go a beautiful new child into another family’s world–reopens this never-healed wound. You will remember, you will recall. You will recall the love, the fear for this miracle child, the vulnerability.

If you have been/are such a mother, please post (up to 100 words). We all need to hear these accounts, to share what we have felt and learned.

Small Press Review praises The Rescuer’s Path

I’m happy to tell you that the prestigious and nationally distributed Small Press Review praises my new novel, The Rescuer’s Path, very glowingly–mostly–in the Jan.-Feb. 2012 issue. Here’s the review; enjoy!

Small Press Review—review by Marie C. Sanchez

The Rescuer’s Path

by Paula Friedman (2012; 195 pp; Pa; $15.95; Plain View Press)

From the first page, Friedman illuminates a world near Washington DC of gullies and game trails and Gavin Hareem, a Nixon-era wounded antiwar leader who is accused of the deadly bombing of an army truck. While Malca Bernovski rides a horse off-trail, she encounters the wounded half-Syrian fugitive and, by aiding him, sets off a blossoming romance that sends them both on a desperate struggle for survival and justice. The sheltered Malca, 16-year old daughter of a Holocaust survivor, reveals surprising resources and choices.

If you’ve ever wanted to enter the mind of a pacifist who eventually turns to violence, this is it. Gavin alternates between reality and insanity, clarity and confusion, brilliance and absurdity, striking just the right notes of believability.

Years later, the lovers’ child searches for her parents and the story moves seamlessly from the nation’s capital to the Colorado Rockies, from the Warsaw Ghetto to post-9/11 San Francisco.

Time itself appears among the major characters. Deft strokes unobtrusively fill in the couple’s histories without slowing the story, and elegant leaps propel the story forward years and decades. However, Friedman’s adroit touch fades toward the end where the treatment of time feels more like gaps than well-timed jumps.

The couple’s daughter searching out her birth parents in the last third of the book starts out promising, but at the end, seemed unfinished. The treatment of daughter and time at the end of the book seemed disappointingly lackluster, given such an incandescent beginning.

That said, the writing is lyrical and poetic, the places finely detailed, the characters vividly drawn and the story captivating.

—JanFeb 2012 SPR—