Published by Beacon Press, 2011 ****
I am in a unique position to review a book by a woman who has become my friend, and it was fascinating getting to know her through her memoir. Harman writes with confidence about her unique life, first as a hippie activist attempting to live a sustainable life in rural Minnesota, then as a part of a commune in Ohio as a young mother with a growing family, and finally as an empty-nester dealing with the drama of working within the medical establishment. This memoir is really Harman’s reflection on her own evolution. Sections of the book are divided by seasons, and I found that her life seemed very cyclical like the seasons. The spring of her youth takes place in a tiny log cabin with her lover and her first son. Her summer is communal living with her husband and sons when she realizes her calling is to help women through the struggle of childbirth. Autumn is the challenge of her profession and the fading light of motherhood as her sons disperse and grow into their own families. Harman also loves winter, so I expect that the next season in her life with be warm and cozy, with the brilliance of a fresh snowfall lighting up her new role as novelist (The Midwife of Hope River was fantastic).
More than anything, I thought this book was the perfect example of how ideals fall away when priorities change. With age and wisdom comes responsibility, but Harman still knows how to let her hippie light shine through. Some may call her a sell-out because she became a professional, but her overall goal to help people is admirable. Her authority on midwifery and the strengths of her beliefs is inspiring.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.
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