Sentient sent me a copy of Life Choices to read and review, and I'm really glad I decided to because it came at a time when I've been feeling a little homesick, and Linda Weber's tone and worldview are so much like my mother's, it was like reading a letter she would write to me.
The book is an exploration of abortion through the eyes of a counsellor, which I think makes a big difference to how we look at, well, anything, really. I always love stories told by providers - like Susan Wicklund's book, This Common Secret - but counsellors, especially those who have been practicing for a while, have an outlook that resonates with me.
It's hard to describe what the Weber actually talks about; it is mostly a jumble of ideas about abortion and what it means in a wider context. Life Choices is about how we view our bodies, what we think and feel about sex and sexuality, what it is like to live in a patriarchy. While the ideas presented are not overtly political, they have great political implications. Weber even takes a chapter to imagine an ideal world, sans patriarchy, where women could will themselves not to conceive through a greater spiritual connection to the world and our bodies.
If it sounds a little flaky, it is, but it takes a while to get there and it is built on a solid foundation. Weber has clearly spoken with many women going through the abortion decision and she shares some of their stories, and it is fascinating. There were also a lot of different ways of viewing abortion that I had never thought of, dropped like quick little asides in a book stuffed with ideas. Blink and you'll miss them!
What really made me think of my mother was Weber's tone; she has many things to say, a lot of advice to give, but it never comes across as even suggestions. It just sort of...flows. It is hard to describe, but I guess I feel like it comes across that Weber is a person who has spent a long time doing non-judgmental listening. The type of person who asks "And what does that mean to you?" or "How does that make you feel?". In a good way, of course. I have never had an abortion, but when I read this book I felt safe and loved. That's not nothing.
There were downsides, of course. I feel like someone who has not grown up being talked to this way might find Weber's tone to be flaky and even a bit cuckoo, especially the parts about spirit and "All That Is". So I don't know how accessible it is to your average person. On the other hand, for those who are open and receptive to it, it is a great read. It will change your ideas about abortion (if you read it with an open mind).
I feel like I can't make it any more obvious that I loved this book. I highly recommend it!
This review is part of a promotional blog tour - it was preceded by a review on Eve Laments on Nov. 16th and the next review is at The Abortion Monologues on Nov. 18. The author is planning an actual tour in February - keep an eye on the website for details.
Although I was asked to review this book I received no compensation for doing so and was encouraged to express my honest opinion. Nothing I've said in this blog post was influenced by the publisher in any way.