‘Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother’ by Barbara Morrison

'Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother' by Barbara Morrison

‘Some changes are deliberate, only made after much weighing of pros and cons, while some are decided in an instant. Still others are the merest accident …’

As you can guess from the title of this memoir, this book is about a mother on welfare. The book’s author, Barbara Morrison was raised in a family that abhorred the idea of welfare, and looked down in disgust upon those whom collected it. Additionally, Morrison is not the stereotypical ideal of a welfare mom being college-educated, raised in an affluent neighborhood, and having lived through a generally pleasant childhood. She was a women who fell in love, got married, got pregnant, and then got smacked in the face with reality. Her happily ever after came crashing down around her s Morrison’s husband left her with a newborn son, pregnant with a second child, unable to work, unable to find child care, and unwelcome by her affluent parents.

In ‘Innocent’, Morrison writes an open and candid account of her time as a welfare mother. Her account is blunt, and realistic, and without flowery language or excuses – she simply tells her truth as she lived it. Morrison speaks with a true mother’s love about her boys, Justin and Jeremy, and the hard decisions she made in order to care for those boys. In the end, this story was more a story of a mother’s love than of a mother on welfare, and the story was much more memorable due to that distinction.

‘… Whether well-thought-out or just a summer afternoon’s whimsy, the changes I’ve decided upon have rarely had the results I expected.’

When I first started this book I had very clear ideas on welfare – largely that I do not agree with welfare as it is utilized today. Since I am so personally against welfare as a tool for my own personal livelihood, I was that much more interested in Morrison’s first-hand account and the new perspective she could offer. And, although, as I read this novel I repeatedly argued with myself that I might make different decisions in order to remain off welfare, Morrison felt she had no other option but to apply for aid and illustrates her story with integrity and pride. While my opinions on the institution of welfare have not changed greatly, my feelings on the people who rely on welfare have been enlightened by Morrison’s honesty.

Salon Summary

RECOMMENDABILITY: 3 {out of 5} stars | ★★★☆☆
REPETITIVE READABILITY: 1 {out of 5} stars | ★☆☆☆☆
RATING: 4 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★☆

{This novel was gifted to Her Literary Salon by the author, B. Morrison.}