On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America

Melissa Ludtke, Author
Melissa Ludtke, Author Random House (NY) $25.95 (496p) ISBN 978-0-679-42414-7
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Paperback - 483 pages - 978-0-520-21830-7
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 483 pages - 978-0-520-92273-0
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Nearly one third of U.S. children are now born to single mothers, according to Ludtke, a former correspondent with Time magazine, in this nonjudgmental, informative study. The 45-year-old single author, who is herself planning to travel to China to adopt a baby girl, here contrasts the stories of single teenage mothers with older career women who raise children without husbands. Limiting her interviews to several dozen women living near her home in the Cambridge, Mass., area, Ludtke does not offer a definitive analysis, but her skilled anecdotal research, buttressed by academic studies, gives a human face to a social phenomenon that deserves attention. Because teenage mothers often lack financial resources, their daily lives can differ significantly from those of older single mothers. But Ludtke notes similarities as well between the two groups, such as the feeling that motherhood will make their lives more meaningful and a concern that their offspring relate to positive male figures. Ludtke argues poignantly that adolescent pregnancy will be prevented only when adults develop ""the patience and perseverance to stick with troubled youth across the span of their adolescence."" Author tour. (Sept.)
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