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Saturday, February 16, 2013

House of Girls - Available Now!

By Joyce Shor Johnson
Sharon knows being fifteen, falling in love, and getting pregnant—is a real problem in 1961, especially if like her, you are Jewish and your boyfriend isn’t.

It all starts when Irish roars into Sharon’s life late one humid summer afternoon in the Catskills. He propels her into the grown-up world of love, sex, lies, and scandal. For ultra-conservative Jewish women and girls, spending summers in the Catskill Mountains is not just about escaping the heat of the Bronx. In the Catskills, you are freed from the restrictive confines of what it means to be “a good Jewish girl.”

Sharon’s parents relax their grip on her enough so she is able to spend her summer days learning about love with Irish. The end of the summer means a return to her “real” world but not an end to Sharon and Irish’s relationship. When Sharon discovers her pregnancy, her parents have her remanded to a home for unwed Jewish girls, and assume she will give up the child.

In the home for unwed mothers, Sharon struggles to find a place for herself. Along the way, she bonds with a few of the girls, each with her own story of pain and drama in a world where abortion is illegal and the stigma of being pregnant and unwed is harsh and humiliating. Gradually, the shared stories and dreams help Sharon find the strength to stand against her parents, family court, and the adoption agency so she can give birth to her baby.

At the end of 1961, life is still suspended in the ideals of the 1950s, but it is only a short leap into the turbulent 196os, where women fought for and won, independence for themselves, their children, and their right to love on their own terms.

Will Sharon make the leap?


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