Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperOne (February 14, 2017)
In this powerful memoir, a fiercely honest and surprisingly funny testament to healing after abortion, a young woman travels across the United States to meet a motley crew of spiritual teachers and a caravan of new friends.
At age nineteen, Kassi Underwood discovered she was pregnant. Broke, unwed, struggling with alcohol, and living a thousand miles away from home, she checked into an abortion clinic.
While her abortion sparked her ìfeminist awakening,î she also felt lost and lawless, drinking to oblivion and talking about her pregnancy with her parents, her friends, strangers-anyone.
Three years later, just when she had settled into a sober life at her dream job, the ex-boyfriend with whom she had become pregnant had a baby with someone else. She shattered. In the depths of a blinding depression, Kassi refused to believe that she would ìnever get overî her abortion. Inspired by rebellious women in history who used spiritual practices to attain emotional freedom, Kassi embarked on a journey of recovery after abortion-a road trip with pit stops at a Buddhist ìwater babyî ritual, where she learns a new way to think about lost pregnancies; a Roman Catholic retreat for abortion that turns out to be staffed with clinic picketers; a crash course in grief from a Planned Parenthood counselor; a night in a motel with a ìMidwife for the Soulî who teaches her how to take up space; and a Jewish ìwild womanî celebration led by a wise and zany rabbi.
Dazzling with warmth and leavened by humor, May Cause Love captures one womanís journey of self-discovery that enraged her, changed her, and ultimately enlightened her.
Many may see May Cause Love as controversial seeing that the topic of abortion is still considered a taboo subject not meant to be discussed openly. However, Kassi Underwood does an imagine job recounting her own story in a way I’ve never read before.
Underwood’s story is unapologetic and one of conflicting moral background that clearly shows her struggle and relationship to abortion. There is such importance in the fact that Underwood was able to tell this story, let alone put it to pen and paper. This is her story and her story alone. In a world where the public is so unable to discuss abortion unless it’s to demonize the procedure and threaten to take over the rights of a woman’s uterus, this is a story that needs to be heard, read and told over and over again.
May Cause Love is a great step towards opening up the dialogue for everyone about abortion and creating a safe, understanding emotional space for women to discuss their own stories or apprehensions. It’s a fantastic, quick, sometimes funny read that I would recommend to anybody.
Rating: 4 stars
About Kassi Underwood
Kassi Underwood grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. Her work has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic online, The Rumpus, and Refinery29. She holds an MFA in literary nonfiction from Columbia University, where she taught on the faculty of the Undergraduate Writing Program. She has been a guest on MSNBC and HuffPost Live, and a speaker at colleges, comedy shows, and faith communities nationwide. Kassi lectures about personal transformation, social justice, and the spirituality of abortion. She is a student at Harvard Divinity School and cohost of the podcast Spiritually Blonde.