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The Blue Jay's Dance: A Memoir of Early Motherhood Paperback – Feb 12 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Feb. 12 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061767972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061767975
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #294,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Mothers often cling to single moments, small gestures, and specific memories in order to grasp all that happens in the first blurry year of a baby's life. In The Blue Jay's Dance, writer Louise Erdrich has assembled a photo album of snapshots such as these: the days and images that collectively define the passion, ambivalence, yearnings, and satisfactions of carrying, birthing, and nurturing a baby. "Any sublime effort has its dark moments," says Erdrich, referring to a rather bleak snapshot of mother isolation. "Perhaps, if anything, the meaning in this book for others may be this: Here is a job in which it is not unusual to be, at the same instant, wildly joyous and profoundly stressed." The Blue Jay's Dance is a fresh and masterful book that avoids all the sticky clichés while still managing to articulate the depths of mother-baby love. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Erdrich, who has published poetry and critically acclaimed novels (Love Medicine, The Beet Queen), here describes her experience with giving birth and the joyful year of mothering that follows. The baby whose arrival she chronicles is the youngest of her three daughters but is also a composite of the biological children among the family's six. A keen observer of nature, Erdrich also movingly evokes wild-animal life and the seasonal changes that take place outside the secluded New Hampshire home of Erdrich and her husband, writer Michael Dorris. Although her mystical side is evident in her descriptions of the natural world and in her account of the strong bond she formed with her new baby, she also looks at life with refreshing common sense. She dismisses the "pseudo spiritual advice" that refers to intense labor pain as "discomfort" and admits to occasionally feeling resentment at her baby's screams. Erdrich lightens her prose with several recipes that she and her husband prepare together, as well as a menu for an all-licorice dinner. An enchanting, lyrical rendering of a "mother's vision."
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
It seems that a week doesn't go by when I see a woman on the subway or in a coffee shop reading a book from the What to Expect When You're Expecting series. Those detailed tombs of writing seem to be sent to people planning or in the process of rearing children as if by storks. (I've even heard of some workplaces keeping the book What to Expect... in the human resources supply closet, to be given as a gift when a woman announces she's pregnant.) However, upon reading some chapters from those books and informal discussions with mothers, a theme that reoccurs is that some women will explicitly instruct others not to read those books. Why? Not because they don't contain a plethora of knowledge but precisely because they do. That is, these can wind up really scaring a parent-to-be because they contain all the zillions of possible physical and emotional things that can go wrong during pregnancy and the first years. I think everyone can agree that raising the anxiety level, especially of a woman during pregnancy, is quite a less than desirable outcome.
What if there was a book that spoke honestly about the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth and, more importantly, treated these experiences as natural events rather than listing all the possible things to be feared? Better yet, what if there was a book that did all those things and spoke of the spiritual aspects of pregnancy and children, in a gentle and non-denominational way? Well, a book with all those features and more is available in this book.
Erdrich is of Native American ancestry and a writer by profession. Her background is rich with symbolism and spiritualism and is wonderful at weaving her story into the passage of seasons.
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Format: Paperback
The Blue Jay's Dance, by Louise Erdrich is not a book solely for women, though I believe that primarily women will be drawn to read it. The story of a birth year is much more interesting to women than it is to men. Men are more likely to read about other kinds of heroism. My experience has taught me that the heroism of birth doesn't interest men much, nor do tales of the enduring devotion of motherhood. However, this is a book that I think men should read and could read with as much interest and a feeling of comradery as any war novel. Men like to solve problems and to build things. So do women. This book is about building a family and about solving the problems that arise everyday in the heat of battle. Erdrich centers her book on the strength, courage, stamina, and sheer artful intelligence that she is able to draw on to get through her childbearing years. She draws from a vast crows of living beings: grandparents, parents, birds, foxes, cats, flowers, spiders, and food. She uses everything she observes in her world to learn from and to use as friends to help guide her in her journey. Nothing is touched without being turned over at least once for investigation. Is this useful for me? Will it help me? What does it teach me? She is searching for paradigms that she can associate with her interior world and she finds many. The tone of this book is soft, lulling, cooing like a lullaby. We feel like babies rocking in the arms of its author. And this is where the book hits a center for both men and women. A mother's loving, patient, caring arms are important in helping to develop the emotional and spiritual life of a child. She gives us a mirror in which we can recapture our soul. The Ojibwe word is wabimujichagwan, or "looking at your soul.Read more ›
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By A Customer on Nov. 30 1997
Format: Paperback
The Blue Jay's Dance is a book about the power founts of motherhood, horizon sickness, sense husbandry, desperation, fiddleheads, and devotion.
In spare, elegant prose, Erdrich examines the natural, the creative, the powerful, and the sacred qualities distinct to places of rogue human wilderness. Hers is a proactive pregnancy involving baby-shaping by meals and, at one point without plumbing, nightly walks into the field under a skyful of stars, then back to the house for a poetry session. The end effect is a transcendent contextualization of the mundane against a magnificent backdrop of mortal flaw and whimsy of one mother and maker.
The Blue Jay's Dance is wise, enchanting, and, in places, achingly lovely. Overall, a work of rare and beauty, demonstrated resilience and spirit. For anyone who is -- or has -- a mother.
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By A Customer on May 23 2000
Format: Paperback
I loved this book when I first read it before my daughter was born. Re-reading it now, as a new mother, I find it even more remarkable. Louise Erdrich has perfectly captured both the frustration and surpassing joy of life with a new baby. The book is also a beautiful nature narrative, with observations on the changing of the seasons interwoven with the story of a child's first year. Highly recommended!
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