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Soaring Solo: On the Joys (yes, joys!) of being a Single Mother

By Wendy Keller
Wildcat Canyon Press, Berkeley, CA, 2001
RRP $21.95

Reviewed by Marian Zaunbrecher, Associate General Secretary for the Queensland Synod.

Ms Keller uses personal anecdotes as well as stories from single mothers she knows to illustrate what she calls the “Joys of Being a Single Mother”.

The issues she covers are the myth of the perfect mother, setting personal and parental boundaries, giving love, the practicalities of motherhood, and balancing the stresses of being a single mother.

I liked that she addressed issues of post partum depression, and depression generally, as well as struggling to make the ends meet.

Her stories are gentle and nonconfronting, and invite you to participate in life.

However, I generally found it unsatisfying.

For me there was a Pollyanna approach to life, and an emphasis on self-help and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps.

There seemed to be a bewildering array of personalities in the chapters; many, many chapters that were, very short and sometimes superficial.

For a single mother raising her children in Australian society there are complex issues of isolation, self-blame as well as judgement by others; particularly some streams of church culture, that are not adequately addressed.

Fifty percent of our children come from broken homes.

Australian single mothers are one of the most financially deprived socio-economic groups within Australian society, often struggling to survive well below the poverty line.

Being a single mother can be life destroying.

For me it was only my faith, and my belief in the call of God, that enabled me to continue.

Although there will be those however who will find the book comforting, it will not suit all single mothers.