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The Blue Jay's Dance: A Memoir of Early Motherhood [Paperback]

Louise Erdrich
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 12 2010

Louise Erdrich's first major work of nonfiction, The Blue Jay's Dance, brilliantly and poignantly examines the joys and frustrations, the compromises and the insights, and the difficult struggles and profound emotional satisfactions the acclaimed author experienced in the course of one twelve–month period—from a winter pregnancy through a spring and summer of new motherhood to her return to writing in the fall. In exquisitely lyrical prose, Erdrich illuminates afresh the large and small events that every parent will recognize and appreciate.

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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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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great, honest book April 8 2002
Fine book, can be read again and again. Would be a great book to give an expecting mother or new mother.
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By "r-jay"
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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5.0 out of 5 stars This is an amazing book! May 24 2000
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Gift Dec 8 1999
I picked up this book simply because I love Louise Erdrich. I was soon sinking in her poetic verses and touching stories, all laced with a bit of humor and irony. Her outlook on nature and the circle of life will lighten your soul and send you sleep with a smile on your face. This is the perfect gift for any friends expecting a child.
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