Listed as one of ten “truly addictive stories” by O Magazine, 2007 BookSense “Pick of the Year,” 2007 Elle Magazine Reader’s Pick, Without a Map by 3rd Gift of Freedom Winner Meredith Hall has been called “A haunting meditation on love, loss, and family,” (Caroline Levitt, People, 4 stars), and “An unusually elegant memoir that feels as though it’s been carved straight out of Meredith Hall’s capacious heart” (Lauren Slater).
Hall’s moving but unsentimental memoir begins in 1965, when she becomes pregnant at sixteen. Shunned by her insular New Hampshire community, she is then kicked out of the house by her mother. Her father and stepmother reluctantly take her in, hiding her before they finally banish her altogether. After giving her baby up for adoption, Hall wanders recklessly through the Middle East, where she survives by selling her possessions and finally her blood. She returns to New England and stitches together a life that encircles her silenced and invisible grief. When he is twenty-one, her lost son finds her. Hall learns that he grew up in gritty poverty with an abusive father–in her own father’s hometown. Their reunion is tender, turbulent, and ultimately redemptive. Hall’s parents never ask for her forgiveness, yet as they age, she offers them her love. What sets Without a Map apart is the way in which loss and betrayal evolve into compassion, and compassion into wisdom.
I was awarded the Gift of Freedom from AROHO and every aspect of my life and my sense of myself changed. Suddenly the moment was exactly right for me to discover this release. AROHO carved out a doorway in space for me, and I walked through. Now this is my life. Now I am here, a writer.