REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT
In 1965, Meredith Hall was just another young girl who got pregnant at 16. Think you know the whole story? Guess again, because Hall colors outside the lines with this memoir, full of unexpected twists and turns. Cast out by her formerly loving mother, Hall is shunted off to live with her judgmental father and his icy new wife, sequestered indoors and forced to give her baby up for adoption. Rudderless and grief-stricken, Hall struggles for a foothold in the world. She tries and drops out of college, lives on a boat with a boyfriend and then wanders the globe, ending up penniless and starving in Syria, until a goat herder saves her with a cup of milk.
Jump-cutting back and forth through time, Hall eloquently tells the story of her rebirth: She marries and has two more children, divorces, goes to college in her 40s and finally in 1987 meets her now grown son, whose life has not been the privileged paradise she had imagined it would be. But in learning his history, she relearns her own—and she comes to terms with her family's choices. Achingly sad, this is a stunning exploration of the mystery of "love and all its failings ... and its final redemptions."