I thought I’d post a ‘writing quickie’ in the middle of the week.
The Baby Box has been selling well but the market is slowing down. Which is a media phrase for ‘need to make a bit more effort’.
I’ve had many encouraging reviews but this one, sent by a writer colleague, is particularly welcoming. Writers can be judgemental – it’s all those workshops they take part in. Plus the editing side of their brain can’t resist making a suggestion for cutting or expanding. Phrases like ‘too much detail here slows the pace’ or ‘I felt cheated and could have done with more indepth writing’ spring to mind. Both useful suggestions but not once the book has been published.
Here it is. It does contain a plot point but maybe this will encourage more women who were experiencing my dilemma in the mid-sixties, to consider reading the book.
I’ve always associated the nineteen sixties with hippies, flower power and free love. It was a time, I imagined, when centuries-old puritanical mores, based largely on religious and patriarchal values, were jettisoned in favour of more permissive attitudes towards clothing, sex and drugs. If, on occasion, free love resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, the family would rally around the expectant mother and welcome the baby into the world. Right? Wrong!
Jane Hayward’s memoir The Baby Box is a poignant reminder of how slowly social conventions change. In this deeply personal account, Jane tells the heart-breaking story of her pregnancy as an unmarried, teenager living in London in the mid 1960s. Mortified by the social stigma of her unmarried daughter’s pregnancy, Jane’s mother withdraws her love, sends her to a Mother and Baby home to “hide” and bullies her into considering giving up the baby for adoption. I found the mother’s obsession with respectability and her total rejection of both daughter and promised grandchild truly shocking. To have told the story so many decades later, and told it in such a captivating way, without bitterness, is a testament to the author’s courage as well as writing talent. I recommend this book highly.
Thank you Sibel.
The Baby Box can be bought with a pay pal link, postage free, on the page Buy the Book on this website.