I Need to Tell You

Non-Fiction - Memoir
279 Pages
Reviewed on 06/02/2022
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Author Biography

Cathryn began writing after leaving a long career in nursing. Her memoir developed almost on its own as she took classes and workshops to learn the craft of writing. She learned to reach down deep and tell it true, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

She loves to read, write, scuba dive, and spend time with her grandchildren. Cathryn lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three rescued terriers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

I Need to Tell You is a work of non-fiction in the memoir subgenre. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Cathryn Vogeley. The book chronicles the fifty-year-long aftermath of the decision by the author to give her baby up for adoption. A decision made after getting pregnant whilst unwed and eighteen years old, the emotional toll of the choice spends decades influencing Cathryn’s life. As her grief for her lost child builds, Cathryn’s life becomes a mission to find the peace within herself that can only come from reflection upon her life and self-forgiveness for the decisions she has made.

This was a beautiful and heartbreaking memoir that creates an incredible emotional impact on the reader thanks in no small part to the author's willingness to be open and vulnerable with the subject under discussion. Author Cathryn Vogeley’s willingness to hold nothing back whilst discussing one of the most emotionally painful incidents of life as well as the decades of consequences that followed is incredibly brave, and her gift for prose translates those experiences into a stunning read. The descriptive writing comes alive when discussing the numerous ways that negative thoughts about her value seeped into every nook and cranny of the author’s life. I could almost feel the isolation and pressure building with each sentence. Overall, I Need to Tell You is the starting point for an important discussion of the decisions we make in our youth that have the power to reverberate throughout our lives, and I hope that when people read it they feel their understanding of the world expand as I did.

Cloie Belle Daffon

Cathryn had a simple belief when it comes to religion and Catholic rules: you either follow them or you go to hell. Growing up in a conservative society and era, Cathryn finds herself pregnant at eighteen and unmarried. She and her first love Gavin had been dating for two years, so she was confident that, although he might need some time to think because of this unexpected pregnancy, he would eventually come to terms with it and marry her. Reality turns out to be very different from what she was expecting. Faced with the prospect of being a single mother and judged by society, Cathryn makes the difficult decision to give up her baby for adoption. I Need to Tell You is Cathryn Vogeley’s memoir of love, life, and regrets as she makes that big decision.

Cathryn Vogeley’s personal narrative in I Need to Tell You is wistful and full of sadness, but the best part of this book is how, even in the most difficult of times, Cathy moved forward and chose what she thought would be best for the situation. As we live our lives, we often look back at the past and wonder what we could have done to make that situation turn out better? Thoughts like that become regrets that haunt us. Cathy had been uncertain and scared but she had done the best she could. She did better than Gavin, who continued to disappoint me right to the very end. Cathy is courageous, forgiving, and strong. Reading about her experiences made my heart hurt but her story was so compelling that I loathed putting the book down for even a second.

The pace was steady and the seamless transitions from one scene to the next made this book easy to read. Vogeley did a good job of expressing her emotions and instilling lessons she has learned through her experiences. Reading the first-person point-of-view made me feel as though I was in her shoes and it allowed me to truly feel and sympathize with everything she has gone through. This book is not only a memoir of Cathy’s life-changing decisions but it is also a reflection of the changing times and the difference between what was socially accepted then and now. I found this book to be inspiring and remarkable and when I finished reading it, I felt peace in my heart. This was a beautiful, moving tale of life and regrets but it was also a tale of forgiveness and love. My heart was filled with warmth, love, and acceptance.

Edith Wairimu

Though Cathryn Vogeley’s parents were always physically present, her childhood was marred by physical and emotional abuse and emotional neglect. At nineteen, toward the end of her first year in college, Vogeley learned that she was pregnant. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1960s still firmly held on to the sanctity of virginity prior to marriage. Her staunch Catholic background further diminished her options and influenced how she saw herself and how her community would view her as an unmarried mother. Following Vogeley’s boyfriend’s refusal to marry her, she was sent to a home for unwed mothers with barely a say in the matter. Giving up her daughter for adoption caused long-term scars and a lifelong void within her. She covers her journey in her heartfelt memoir, I Need to Tell You.

Cathryn Vogeley writes about her thoughts and experiences in a clear and articulate manner. Heart-warming events are creatively intertwined with moving experiences in the memoir, resulting in a vivid, compelling account. Vogeley’s journey of healing and the process of looking for her daughter are also encouraging. Her personal experiences also bring attention to the unspoken trauma and the heart-breaking experiences of others with similar stories and the horrors of The Baby Scoop Era. I Need to Tell You by Cathryn Vogeley is a candid and powerful memoir that will resonate with birth mothers and adopted children. Through its moving scenes and Vogeley’s internal dialogue covered in the work, it brilliantly portrays the psychological and emotional effects that adoption has on birth mothers, especially, those from The Baby Scoop Era.