One woman's story of all she lost and how hard she fought to survive and eventually triumph.
A teenager in the 1970s, Gwen Wilson grew up in Western Sydney. It was a tough childhood. Illegitimate, fatherless - her mother in and out of psychiatric hospitals; it would have been easy for anyone to despair and give up. Yet Gwen had hope. Despite it all, she was a good student, fighting hard for a scholarship and a brighter future.
Then she met Colin. Someone to love who would love her back. But that short-lived love wasn't the sanctuary Gwen was looking for. It was the start of a living hell. Rape was just the beginning. By sixteen she was pregnant, her education abandoned. Australian society did not tolerate single mothers; prejudice and discrimination followed her everywhere. In an effort to save her son, Jason, from the illegitimacy and deprivation she'd grown up with, Gwen chose to marry Colin - and too quickly the nightmare of physical abuse, poverty and homelessness seemed inescapable.
In 1974, in the dying days of the forced adoption era in Australia, this isolated teenager was compelled to make a decision about her child that would tear her life apart, one she would never truly come to terms with.
I Belong to No One is her story.
“I Belong to No One is a gripping read that kept me turning the pages, wanting to know what happened next.
What I found is a very moving and excruciatingly painful memoir of an intelligent girl whose life is handicapped by the dead weight of past generations, by genetics, by background and status, by the social norms of the day, by the prejudices of narrow-minded people, by neglect, and by ignorance, her own and of those around her.
Gwen’s introspective commentary on the girl she was, and her dire circumstances, adds a dimension of pathos and understanding which explains why she was unable to protect either herself or her child.
This memoir exposes the hostility of certain social attitudes and the barbarity of institutional practices within living memory, which have only been exposed and improved in the last decade or two, and from which many people are still suffering acutely.”
- Irina Dunn, Director, Australian Writers Network -
“The writing is of such high quality that it was a pleasure to work on. I admire Gwen’s incredible bravery, not only in sharing her heart-rending story, but in the life she has led. I assume it hasn’t been an easy process writing this deeply personal and emotional work … my congratulations to her for producing such an eloquent and well-crafted manuscript.”
- Jacquie Brown, copy editor of I BELONG TO NO ONE -
“We are very excited to be publishing Gwen’s memoir. Her writing is very assured and the narrative is compelling. Gwen has done a remarkable job of telling her story; I’m sure readers will find it an absorbing and affecting read.”
- Karen Ward, in-house editor for I BELONG TO NO ONE, Hachette Australia -
FAQs with Gwen Wilson
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