What's a Birthday, Mama? Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of What's a Birthday, Mama?

Little Peggy's childhood, mired in the squalor of a small town in the 1940's, is dominated by her father, a volatile, abusive alcoholic who seems to relish beating both her and her mother when sparked by drunken rages. Driven by an inner sense of motherly responsibility for her equally neglected brothers, she is forced to steal or forage for food in garbage dumps, and while she yearns for a sister, ironically it would be one more mouth to feed. Soon she realizes that her mother is constantly becoming pregnant and either aborting or killing the newborns, which she demands that Peggy bury. Discovering a girl baby, the spirited young girl seizes it, thereby saving her sister's life.
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The review of this Book prepared by Pegi Handley

Chapter Analysis of What's a Birthday, Mama?

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Plot & Themes

Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Kids:    -   trouble in high school    -   trouble in grade school    -   parental abuse Family, hate    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Father    -   Mother The difficult family member    -   disapproves of life choices    -   is mentally ill Period of greatest activity?    -   1900+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   homemaker Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   American


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   7 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California Mountains/Cliffs    -   Yes Mountains:    -   climbing on trails Forest?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   prison Century:    -   1930's-1950's

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   angry Graphic sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript. of nude males (the big P)    -   rape/molest    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   actual description of hetero sex Pictures/Illustrations?    -   More 6-10 B&W How much dialogue in bio?    -   significantly more descript than dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   26-50% of book

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