• The Girls Who Went Away

  • The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade
  • By: Ann Fessler
  • Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 03-08-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (104 ratings)

Regular price: $27.99

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Publisher's Summary

In this deeply moving and myth-shattering work, Ann Fessler brings out into the open for the first time the astonishing untold history of the million and a half women who surrendered children for adoption due to enormous family and social pressure in the decades before Roe v. Wade. An adoptee who was herself surrendered during those years and recently made contact with her mother, Fessler brilliantly brings to life the voices of more than 100 women as well as the spirit of those times, allowing the women to tell their stories in gripping and intimate detail.

©2006 Ann H. Fessler (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Fessler recounts her own journey to find and reunite with her birth mother in this heartrending look at the untold story of American women compelled to surrender their children." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sad but True ... and Helpful

What did you love best about The Girls Who Went Away?

The stories were heartwrenching. Each of them different but all connected in the heartache. I have my own story, and it's different and yet the same. It was healing for me and I recommend, HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has given up and I use 'given up' purposefully, their baby for adoption.

What did you like best about this story?

The honesty. The chance for a happy ending.

What does Coleen Marlo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This was my first audio book so it's hard for me to answer, but I enjoyed the listening.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

There are a lot of secrets out there. A lot of young girls being shamed and traumatized by the way society views teen pregnancy and it's so unfair. These girls were just the ones who got found out, all the girls, or most of them anyway were having sex.

Any additional comments?

I read this book as recommended by my social worker as I was working on finding my son. It was like I had a friend and I highly recommend it. P.S. I found my son and life is good. Next week for the first time in 40 years I get to wish him a happy birthday. Can not wait!!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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wow....I am an adoptee and a birthmom

it was an intense emotional book. it put words to some of the struggles I had in my heart that I didn't have words for before. it opened my heart to the women who suffer in silence. it gave me a new perspective on my birthmom and my brothers birthmom.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Book

These true stories were difficult to hear at times. But everybody should know what these women went through. I am an adoptee and I am so glad I read this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book

Great book. It is detailed in the accounts and life style of the era of the time. It gave me a better understanding of why children were given up

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Healing - cathartic

I highly recommend this book to adoptees, birthmothers and anyone who knows someone in the adoption triangle. Without any exaggeration As a birthmother myself it has changed if not saved my life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A must read for birth moms and adoptees!

As an adoptee, currently searching for my birth mother, this was an invaluable resource to help me prepare for whatever I find. I am overwhelmed with sadness of how cruel and insensitive the treatment of unwed mothers was during this era. I had no idea. Thank you Ms Fessler for shedding the light on this important topic and for the women having the willingness to tell their stories. I hope and pray women who endured this travesty find some sense of solace in knowing their story is finally being told!

Thank you!


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Haunting and heartfelt

I loved this documentary. Opened my eyes to the harsh realities faced by women of past generations and gave me a new perspective on adoption!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Must Read for Adoptees

I was adopted in 1971 and read this book at the urging of a fellow adoptee. This has been so eye opening and is a must read for anyone adopted. I’ve always had a great respect for my birth mother and what she must have endured to give me life. My Mom always spoke of her in a very positive light. Adoption was very normal and positive in our home. After reading this book, I find myself wanting to get over my fears and really search for her. Thank you to all the brave women who shared their stories with Ann Fessler - you have raised the shades on what really happened to the girls who went away.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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very moving

I'm not an adoptee or a birth parent but rather a spouse of an adoptee and mother to our 3 children. This was a very moving but also very difficult book to read. My heart broke with every story told by the mothers who were made to surrender their babies. I'm moved to help these women heal in anyway I can.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An Amazing Book

I absolutely loved this book. I was captivated throughout. One of the best books I have read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful