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Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood

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Overview

A San Francisco Chronicle Lit Pick
"Much of the book is astonishingly funny; the rest would break your heart." —Colm Tóibín
Anne Enright is one of the most acclaimed novelists of her generation. The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize, and her follow-up novel, The Forgotten Waltz, garnered universal praise for her luminous language and deep insight into relationships.
Now, in Making Babies, Enright offers ...
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Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood

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Overview

A San Francisco Chronicle Lit Pick
"Much of the book is astonishingly funny; the rest would break your heart." —Colm Tóibín
Anne Enright is one of the most acclaimed novelists of her generation. The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize, and her follow-up novel, The Forgotten Waltz, garnered universal praise for her luminous language and deep insight into relationships.
Now, in Making Babies, Enright offers a new kind of memoir: an unapologetic look at the very personal experience of becoming a mother. With a refreshing no-nonsense attitude, Enright opens up about the birth and first two years of her children’s lives. Enright was married for eighteen years before she and her husband Martin, a playwright, decided to have children. Already a confident, successful writer, Enright continued to work in her native Ireland after each of her two babies was born. While each baby slept, those first two years of life, Enright wrote, in dispatches, about the mess, the glory, and the raw shock of motherhood.
Here, unfiltered and irreverent, are Enright’s keen reactions to the pains of pregnancy, the joys of breast milk, and the all-too-common pressures to be the “perfect” parent. Supremely observant and endlessly quizzical, Enright is never saccharine, always witty, but also deeply loving.
Already a bestseller in the UK, Making Babies brings Enright’s autobiographical writing to American readers for the first time. Tender and candid, it captures beautifully just what it’s like for a working woman to become a mother. The result is a moving chronicle of parenthood from one of the most distinctive and gifted authors writing today.
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Editorial Reviews

Dwight Garner - New York Times
“An oddly sweet-and-sour but loving memoir about becoming a mother.”
Judith Newman - New York Times Book Review
“To write well in the mother-child arena, a person must understand that the essential condition of motherhood . . . is absurdity. Samuel Beckett could have come up with a great book on babies. Anne Enright has.”
Dallas Morning News - Merritt Tierce
“Equal parts wryly analytical and wholeheartedly emotional. She is honest, funny and scandalously frank.”
Wall Street Journal
“[Enright’s] first work of nonfiction, Making Babies is a collection of short essays, some of them stream of consciousness, that move chronologically through the landmarks of motherhood. She writes with brutal candor and irreverence about the things that the feel-good baby books don’t tell you….”— Moira Hodgson
New York Times
“An oddly sweet-and-sour but loving memoir about becoming a mother.”— Dwight Garner
New York Times Book Review
“To write well in the mother-child arena, a person must understand that the essential condition of motherhood . . . is absurdity. Samuel Beckett could have come up with a great book on babies. Anne Enright has.”— Judith Newman
Merritt Tierce
“Equal parts wryly analytical and wholeheartedly emotional. She is honest, funny and scandalously frank.”— Dallas Morning News
New York Times - Dwight Garner
“An oddly sweet-and-sour but loving memoir about becoming a mother.”
New York Times Book Review - Judith Newman
“To write well in the mother-child arena, a person must understand that the essential condition of motherhood . . . is absurdity. Samuel Beckett could have come up with a great book on babies. Anne Enright has.”
Merritt Tierce - Dallas Morning News
“Equal parts wryly analytical and wholeheartedly emotional. She is honest, funny and scandalously frank.”
Colm Toibin
“Anne Enright’s style is as sharp and brilliant as Joan Didion’s; the scope of her understanding is as wide as Alice Munro’s; her sympathy for her characters is as tender and subtle as Alice McDermott’s; her vision of Ireland is as brave and original as Edna O’Brien’s.”
Wall Street Journal - Moira Hodgson
“[Enright’s] first work of nonfiction, Making Babies is a collection of short essays, some of them stream of consciousness, that move chronologically through the landmarks of motherhood. She writes with brutal candor and irreverence about the things that the feel-good baby books don’t tell you….”
Dwight Garner
[Ms. Enright]'s a hopelessly vivid maker of sentences, of the sort you can't help reading aloud to whoever happens to be nearby…Part of what makes Ms. Enright so readable is that her core sweetness is lacquered over by an impacted layer of sour. She's a grown-up version of the sarcastic, complicated kid in the back corner…She has blissfully direct access to her subconscious. She says entrancingly unusual things that tend to have the density of poetry.
—The New York Times
Judith Newman
To write well in the mother-child arena, a person must understand that the essential condition of motherhood isn't pleasure or wonderment or even terror—although there's plenty of that. The essential condition is absurdity. Samuel Beckett could have come up with a great book on babies. Anne Enright has…in…short, lucid bursts, she conveys a delicious sense of stolen time. Bite-size chapters with titles like "Milk," "Crying" and "Burps" illuminate the darkest corners of pregnancy and early motherhood—places that are often as funny as they are hideous.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
In Enright’s only work of nonfiction, the Man Booker Prize–winning Irish author (The Gathering) describes what it’s like to become a mother at 37, 18 years into her marriage. The narrative veers from the hilarious (“Martin looks at me over the back of his chair. He gives me a thumbs-up, as if to say, ‘Isn’t this a blast? And there’s football on the telly!" At 9.35 and 20 seconds I am, for the first time, in serious pain”) to the brutally honest (“I never liked being around nursing women—there was always too much love, too much need in the room”) to pure wonder—not so much at the miracle of the baby itself (although that is certainly present), but that she is a mother. And that she isn’t half bad at it. In fact, she’s good at it. The reader might wonder why she’s so surprised at all this until the last chapter. And then we realize that this book, above all, is about the redemptive power of having children: by the end of the memoir, she is finally “completely happy.” (Apr.)
Boston Sunday Globe
“Keenly observed and gorgeously written… one of the best books ever on the experience of being a mother. Because it’s an experience so many of us share, Enright’s fearless and funny inquiry into why motherhood feels the way it does is not only entertaining, it’s deeply consoling.”
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“At once a memoir, a reference manual and a cautionary tale about the conflicting emotions of parenthood…. For those who’ve grown weary of hyped-up superparents and their relentless positivity, [Enright’s] candor is welcome.”
The Dallas Morning News
“[A] field guide to both the romance and reality of what it means to create and care for other humans, delivered by narration that evinces deep sincerity and the purest happiness.”
Colm Tóibín
“Anne Enright’s style is as sharp and brilliant as Joan Didion’s; the scope of her understanding is as wide as Alice Munro’s; her sympathy for her characters is as tender and subtle as Alice McDermott’s; her vision of Ireland is as brave and original as Edna O’Brien’s.”
Moira Hodgson - Wall Street Journal
“[Enright’s] first work of nonfiction, Making Babies is a collection of short essays, some of them stream of consciousness, that move chronologically through the landmarks of motherhood. She writes with brutal candor and irreverence about the things that the feel-good baby books don’t tell you….”
More
“At once a memoir, a reference manual and a cautionary tale about the conflicting emotions of parenthood…. For those who’ve grown weary of hyped-up superparents and their relentless positivity, [Enright’s] candor is welcome.”
Kirkus Reviews
A dryly humorous memoir/guidebook about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood by the Man Booker Prize–winning Irish novelist. Enright (The Forgotten Waltz, 2011, etc.) was married to her husband for nearly 20 years before they decided to have children. Having always assumed, vaguely, that she would be a mother, she first wanted to focus on her writing career. Divided into several-dozen short chapters, the book offers dispatches from the frontlines of first-time parenthood. Enright gracefully moves between straight facts, disarmingly funny admissions, her own unexpected revelations and experiences and conversational second-person directives. In "Babies: A Breeder's Guide," the author organizes the narrative into categories that include "Home Birth," "Naming," "Burps, Burp!, Burp!," "Evolution" and "How to Panic," to name a few. Throughout, Enright displays a great sense of humor, calling to mind two similarly themed memoirs: Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions (1993) and Rachel Cusk's A Life's Work (2002). Enright's conclusions are far more optimistic than Cusk's, but she shares Lamott's talent for drawing the reader fully into her writing with her frank and comic tone. She's equally honest about the difficult, boring aspects of becoming a parent, although Enright's humor works better than her seriousness. While she doesn't shy away from revealing vibrant detail the traumas and upheavals involved in pregnancy and parenthood, it's her talent for elevating otherwise menial complaints into universal truths that makes the book compelling. Fans of Enright's novels and short stories, especially parents or those contemplating parenthood, will be interested in her perspective. A winning and witty take on a well-covered topic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393338287
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/29/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 506,760
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published two volumes of stories, one book of nonfiction, and four novels. Her novel The Gathering won the Man Booker Prize, and
The Forgotten Waltz won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Awwww.

    That baby on the cover is so cute.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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