Title: Relative Strangers
Authors: Murdoch, Pip
Genre: Non Fiction: New Zealand
Pages: 256
Year: 2019
Language: English
Description: Pip Murdoch offers us a raw and honest account of her personal journey, giving birth and placing her child up for adoption during early seventies New Zealand. Her frank and gritty portrayal is set against a period of rapid social change within a narrow and judgemental environment.

Pip gives us intimate descriptions of the challenges she faced. She expresses the fear, shame and trauma of having to part with her baby and demonstrates a tireless determination to make the most of every situation. Her story begins with a girl coming of age in the constricting world of the 1960s, when the sexual revolution overlapped the bigotry and puritanism that were our post-Victorian legacy. The cultural context of the time had a big effect on the choices Pip made and profoundly influenced her life. She gives us an insight into the harsh imposed adoption laws and the impact of institutional processes.

Relative Strangers captures the realities of female adolescence, its innocence and excitement, accompanied by new freedoms, with the added ingredients of peer pressure and guilt. The memoir reminds us how far we've come in our societal attitudes.

Pip then takes up the story twenty years later as she endeavours to search for her son. She takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of disappointment and hope through the process of her adoption reunion. [Taken from book blurb, Fern Publishing]

Comments from BDS Reviewers:

"A simply told and well-written book."

"The book gives a fascinating background on life in the 1960s. It's hard now to imagine what it was like for unwed mothers in those times."

"A very personal, touching and honest account." "It's an easy-read. It took only a few hours to complete."

"A very honest story. It describes the selfishness of a teenager vividly."

"I myself was adopted and was keen to read this book. Some however may find it traumatic to read, bringing up old memories."

"It reads well, is not repetitive and is informative."

Categories: Non Fiction - New Zealand, Biography, Gender Issues, Grief/loss, Morals/Ethics, Relationships, Social commentary/perspectives, 2022 Titles


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