Single parenthood, by the book

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By Ashley Lisenby

Digital Editor

Award-winning journalist, assistant professor emerita at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and longtime River Forest resident Michele Weldon has spent years recording her personal experiences for the world to read. 

Her 1999 memoir I Closed My Eyes is a narrative about an abusive marriage with her former husband. Her recently published book Just Me and My Three Sons is a continuation of her previous memoir, focusing on the challenges and successes of single motherhood.

"It's a memoir about raising my sons, who are now 26, 23 and 20, as a single mother since the ages of 6, 4, and 1," Weldon said, "as well as facing cancer and my mortality."

Weldon, now a cancer survivor, said her e-book on single parenting released in September is one that is meant to uplift and offer hope. 

In addition to publishing non-fiction books, Weldon has written for Slate, The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. Throughout the years, she said she runs into a consistent perspective concerning single parenting — that it is full of peril. But it doesn't have to be.

"The landscape of 'mother opinions' is that everyone is so overwhelmed and that 'I'll have to drink and party my way out,'" Weldon said. "But normalcy is possible and it doesn't have to involve desperation. I want to offer that the country of single parenting is not an island that you're shipwrecked on."

On Dec. 3 at the Oak Park Public Library Main Branch, 834 Lake Street, at 7 p.m. Weldon will be discussing her most recent book. Leading up to the event, Weldon invited people to submit their own 300-word stories about parenting or relationships with parents. Some of those who submitted essays, perhaps all of them, time permitting, will be selected to share their stories at the event.

"It is a natural instinct to share stories," Weldon said. "The experience of someone sharing a true story not only develops a sense of artistry to reality, but also makes us feel less alone and more connected."

Weldon's next book, Escape Points, published by Chicago Review Press, is scheduled for release in September 2015.

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