Surrender: A Memoir of Nature, Nurture, and Love by Marylee MacDonald

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Pub date November 19, 2020

ISBN 9781951479299

Price $5.27 (USD) Kindle edition

Author interview

MacDonald’s memoir is both an unforgettable and exquisitely written narrative of the complex psychological impact of adoption and a journey to understanding and acceptance. MacDonald was born to a fifteen-year-old unwed girl in 1945 and adopted by a middle-aged couple Rex and Lorene Benham. Vividly capturing her life as an adoptee and a mother who had to relinquish her firstborn, MacDonald begins with her life as an obedient little girl in the Benham home, and continues through her parents’ troubled divorce, her teenage pregnancy, her time in the Phoenix Florence Crittenton Home for unwed mothers followed by the relinquishment of her firstborn son, and her struggles to understand her own sense of alienation and emotional brittleness. Expert references on adoption and psychology provide authenticity to her story. MacDonald highlights the unfair social practices of the time when it comes to teenage pregnancy and divorce. However, she places the greatest emphasis on the displacement that newborn adoptees have to go through, depicting it as an essentially destructive process that leaves life-long scars on a person’s psyche. Readers of all stripes will feel compassion for the circumstances of her son’s adoption and her anguish at giving him up.

Painfully honest, very personal, and compelling, this poignant account makes for a must-read.


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