SOCIAL SCIENCES

Booth Girls: Pregnancy, Adoption, and the Secrets We Kept

Minnesota Historical Society. Mar. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781681341903. pap. $18.95. MEMOIR
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In 1994, Heikkila’s mother, Sharon, revealed that the author and her brother had another sister. Sharon had become pregnant in the early 1960s, while a student at the University of Minnesota. She spent the final weeks of her pregnancy at the Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital in St. Paul, then placed her child for adoption and kept the experience a secret for 33 years. Heikkila herself has adopted a son, which becomes another lens through which to view the journeys of her mother and nine other “Booth girls” from the St. Paul hospital. These women were often stigmatized and silenced; their experiences are compelling and moving.
VERDICT With its vivid historical detail, and careful examination of the emotional lives of parents on either side of the adoption process, this book is recommended for parents of adopted children, and for readers of memoir.
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