Confessions of a Welfare Mother
by B. Morrison Apprentice House

"White, educated, healthy, I grew up in a two-parent family in a middle-class neighborhood. I went to college. I was nothing like what most people picture when you say 'welfare recipient.'"

In Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother, Morrison recounts the insufficiencies of the welfare system of the 1970s, and the reasons she became a single welfare mom. One reason was a man named Lewis, who wandered in and out of her life, and fathered her children.

This memoir details the plight of the author, her children, and women she met in the welfare system. All were battling to get basic assistance for housing and food. They were forced to live in appalling and dangerous conditions. If they somehow acquired "too much" they would lose their meager benefits. Morrison tells of encounters with uncaring social workers and uneven dealings within the same departments. She and her new compatriots had to deal with inane rules which were impossible to follow. Most of the women, also sans husbands, helped each other make it through the roughest times, and also to effect change within the system.

The author felt estranged from her well-off but dysfunctional family long before she actually was. Eventually when her father became sick, her mother allowed her and her children to move back home. Without the worry of inadequate housing and dangerous neighborhoods, and with better schools for her children, Morrison was strong enough and determined enough to go back to college and get certified to teach so she could get off welfare.

Portions of this book were previously published, which is perhaps why some of the book reads unevenly. However, the story is enlightening and the depicted welfare moms are not the stereotypes portrayed by the media today.

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