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Not the Whole Story

Challenging the Single Mother Narrative

Edited by Judit Alcalde & Lea Caragata
Series Life Writing Hide Details
Paperback : 9781554586240, 176 pages, April 2014
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554586370, 176 pages, April 2014
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554586363, 176 pages, April 2014

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Not the Whole Story: Challenging the Single Mother Narrative edited by Lea Caragata and Judit Alcalde
Introduction | Lea Caragata
Workfare and Precarious Work
The Making of This Book
Issues Shaping Poverty, Single Motherhood, and Social Status
Format of the Volume
On the Process of Creating This Book and on the Stories That Needed Telling | Robin
The Individual Stories
Sara's Story
Martha's Story
Mary's Story
Anne's Story
Madison's Story
Stacey's Story
Robin's Story
Emily's Story
Catrina's Story
Lucy's Story
Christina's Story
Susan's Story
Miriam's Story
Victoria's Story
Izabela's Story
Jenna's Story
Making Meaning | Lea Caragata and Judit Alcalde
Story Summaries
Pulling It Together
Conclusion | Lea Caragata


Not the Whole Story is a compilation of sixteen stories narrated by single mothers in their own way and about their own lives. Each story is unique, but the same issues appear again and again. Abuse, parenting as single mothers, challenges in the labour market, mental health and addictions issues, a scarcity of quality childcare, immigration and status vulnerability, struggles with custody, and poverty—these factors, combined with a lack of support, contribute to their continued struggles.
The themes that recur across stories illustrate that the issues the women face are not just about individual struggle; they demonstrate that major issues in Canada’s social system have been neglected in public policy. In order for these issues to be addressed we need to challenge the flawed public policies and the negative discourse that continue to marginalize single mothers—in terms of the opportunities in their own lives and in terms of how they are understood by other Canadians.
The first-person narratives of the struggles and issues faced by low-income single mothers provide narrative richness and are augmented by introductory and concluding chapters that draw the narrative themes together and offer overarching discussion and analysis.