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Lilli de Jong: A Novel
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2017
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Description
"A powerful, authentic voice for a generation of women whose struggles were erased from history—a heart-smashing debut that completely satisfies."—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetA young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her. Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can't accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive. Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family's home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers. "So little is permissible for a woman," writes Lilli, "yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood."
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Street Date:
05/16/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385541466
ASIN:
B01KUDJ5SE
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Janet Benton. (2017). Lilli de Jong: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Janet Benton. 2017. Lilli De Jong: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Janet Benton, Lilli De Jong: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Janet Benton. Lilli De Jong: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Anne Arundel County Public Library11
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Grouped Work ID:
36ff523b-f3d7-eb63-aa10-06b0d2998eed
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 03, 2017 07:04:19
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 04:25:49
Last Metadata Check:
Apr 11, 2021 05:03:46
Last Metadata Change:
Jan 15, 2021 08:07:07
Last Availability Check:
Apr 11, 2021 05:03:50
Last Availability Change:
Feb 20, 2021 14:25:43
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Apr 09, 2021 04:15:53

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      • bioText: JANET BENTON's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has cowritten and edited historical documentaries for television. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and for decades she has taught writing and helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.
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title
Lilli de Jong
fullDescription
"A powerful, authentic voice for a generation of women whose struggles were erased from history—a heart-smashing debut that completely satisfies."
—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her.

Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can't accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.

Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family's home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers. "So little is permissible for a woman," writes Lilli, "yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood."
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 20, 2017
        In the forthright prose of its eponymous heroine, Benton’s heartrending debut novel gives voice to the plight of unwed mothers in late-19th-century Philadelphia. Instead of starting a new life with her fiancé, 22-year-old Lilli de Jong discovers that she is pregnant. Once sheltered by her Quaker community, Lilli can no longer associate with respectable society, including her own family. The Philadelphia Haven for Women and Infants promises Lilli a reputable adoption and a fresh start, albeit one built on lies. But nothing prepares Lilli for motherhood and the cruel world beyond. She dares to keep her daughter, but must choose, again and again, between her principles and necessities. Told through Lilli’s journals, the book offers a distressing window into the intersections of motherhood, independence, faith, and class at a time when even affluent white women had little control over their lives. Benton’s exacting research fuels Lilli’s passionate, authentic voice that is “as strong as a hand on a drum... that pounds its urgent messages across a distance.” Most poignant are the heartfelt depictions of the dualities of motherhood, “a land where pain and joy are ever mingled and where… every move has consequence.” Lilli’s inspiring power and touching determination are timeless. Agent: Jane von Mehren, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2017
        A young Quaker woman struggles to keep her out-of-wedlock child in 1880s Pennsylvania.At the book's opening, Lilli de Jong is a former schoolteacher committing her story to paper from the confines of a Philadelphia charity for unwed mothers. Amid descriptions of life in the haven along with stirring encounters with other ostracized girls there, Lilli's own history unfolds. Abandoned by her fiance, relieved of her job, and banned from Meeting due to misconduct of her father's, Lilli is forced to conceal her pregnancy and flee her home in Germantown. She plans to give her baby up for adoption three weeks after birth, since seeking employment, acceptance, and even shelter as an unwed woman with a child is nearly impossible. Soon Lilli bears a little girl and finds she cannot part with her. The trials Lilli undertakes to keep her baby are heart-rending, and it's a testament to Benton's skill as a writer that the reader cannot help but bear witness. In a style reminiscent of Geraldine Brooks, she seamlessly weaves accurate historical detail as well as disturbing societal norms into the protagonist's struggles. A diary as a literary device can be both trying for the reader and a restrictive device for an author to wield, but Benton pulls it off with grace. At times the story is bogged down with repetitive and somewhat obsessive descriptions of nursing, but that's a minor point when cast against the monumental accomplishment the novel achieves. In the modern battle for rights for working mothers and equal pay for equal work, Benton holds a mirror up to the past and in doing so, illustrates how far we have come as well as how far we have yet to go. An absorbing debut from a writer to watch.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2017

        Lilli de Jong, discharged from her teaching job and banished from Quaker meetings because of her father's selfish choice, finds comfort in the affections of her father's apprentice, Johan. The night before he leaves to embark on a new life, she succumbs to his embrace with his promise that he will send for her. Soon thereafter, a pregnant Lilli finds herself shunned and alone, her only option a Philadelphia charity for wronged women. Knowing that she must relinquish her newborn, she is unprepared for the love that she feels for her daughter. Lilli quickly decides to fight to keep her, but in 1883 that means a life of hardship and deprivation. Telling Lilli's story in diary form, debut author Benton has written a captivating, page-turning, and well-researched novel about the power of a mother's love and the stark reality of the choices she must make. VERDICT A great choice for book clubs and readers of Geraldine Brooks.--Susan Santa, Shelter Rock P.L., Albertson, NY

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2017
        In a short space of time, a young Quaker woman poised to begin a new life was reduced to begging on the streets to keep herself and her infant daughter alive. The story of how Lilli de Jong falls so completely after unexpectedly becoming pregnant offers a harrowing look at the strictures of nineteenth-century American society. Many of the other unwed mothers at the Philadelphia charity where Lilli takes shelter before giving birth were victims of unwanted sexual conquests, now forced to abandon their babies to adoption while their abusers live without consequences. But Lilli refuses to leave her daughter to the cruel life awaiting an illegitimate child, instead fighting to her last scrap of resolve to keep her as her own. She is a full-fledged heroine, persevering despite seemingly insurmountable odds, including her own loss of faith. While it's hard to believe she would have the time to devote to the diary entries that comprise the book, her voice is distinctive, her fierceness driven by a mother's love.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her.

Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can't accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.

Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family's home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an...
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group