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Martha Bordwell for "Missing Mothers"

  • SubText Books 6 West 5th Street St. Paul, MN 55102 (map)

Join SubText Books in the store on Wednesday, November 6th at 7:00 PM for a reading with Martha Bordwell for her memoir “Missing Mothers.” Book signing to follow.


Six-year-old Martha’s world changes abruptly when her mother dies during childbirth. First she must adjust to having no mother and then, when her father remarries, to a second mother. But she never stops missing her first mother, the mother she struggles to remember. Buoyed by marriage to her college sweetheart, she hopefully anticipates pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. Infertility leads to another shift in plans. She and her husband enter the unfamiliar landscape of interracial and intercultural adoption. They adopt an infant son from South Korea and a daughter from Guatemala. Martha commits to providing her children with the childhood she didn’t have and to mothering them in ways she can’t remember being mothered. But as the lives of her children unfurl, their individual attitudes toward maternal loss don’t conform to Martha’s experience or expectations. During journeys to Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea to witness her son’s marriage and to Guatemala to vacation and volunteer with her daughter’s Mayan ancestors, Martha begins to uncover new understandings of the ties which bind and restrain her complicated family.

MARTHA BORDWELL writes about current events, family life, and travel. The recipient of a PhD from the University of Minnesota, she is a retired psychologist whose academic writing has appeared in professional journals such as Teaching Exceptional Children and Ours Magazine. She has been a featured speaker at Children's Home Society of Minnesota, speaking on the subject of Korean adoption. Her writing has also appeared in MinnPost and on the opinion pages of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Missing Mothers is her first book.

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