From Publishers Weekly
Poet Fennelly shares, in letters to a formerly pregnant friend, the joys and sorrows of pregnancy and motherhood. Fennelly's letters read like prose, but they're also loaded with information on all aspects of pregnancy-cravings, fear of childbirth, anxieties over health and a changing body-as well as insights on relationships and child rearing. In one letter, she shares a powerful and personal story about how "family secrets...have a way of rotting a family's foundation," and in another she writes about the pleasant surprise of discovering that motherhood "is tremendously sweet, which we all know; it's also tremendously funny, which isn't so well recognized." The letters are arranged chronologically, so the topics ebb and flow according to Fennelly's moods and daily experiences, so the letter celebrating her daughter's victory over potty training is followed by a letter revealing "the erotics of motherhood," which is followed by a treatise on maintaining a tranquil home after baby's arrival. Expecting and new mothers looking for short doses of inspiration will find a year's worth here.
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Fennelly loved to play school as a child, went on to teach, and originally addressed these letters to a former student. She found them so helpful that she shared them with another woman pregnant for the first time, who in turn sent them to another. These are no hastily written, lowercase, misspelled, emotional e-mails. Fennelly used, as she wrote in the first letter, "the weight of a pen and thick paper under my hand" to lead her "to a slower pace, slower thoughts, to handpicked words." The first recipient was computer-less, anyway, in Alaska, where her husband's fellowship landed her. In subsequent letters, Fennelly shares the experience of attending a Quaker wedding, her own odd dreams during pregnancy, the joy and the literal shittiness of motherhood, and the sweetness and ease of long-term friendships with people seen only occasionally: "We're able to move so quickly to deep levels of conversation. We don't need to fill each other in on backstory." A reflective, transformative book capable of enlightening beyond parenthood. Whitney ScottCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved