The extraordinarily intimate essays are often heart-stopping, as these eloquent writers . . . are surprised by their own fierce desire for a child.
New York Times Book Review
Each story in this moving anthology reiterates the universal need to be a parent, to experience what the essayist Michael Brub . . . describes as 'this overwhelming, bone-crushing, life-transforming, complicated feeling of wonder.'
New York Magazine
The contributors to this vibrant collection . . . share not only a yearning for parenthood but an unsentimentally enchanting gift for expressing it.
Wanting a Child contains the best writing I have seen on infertility, treatment by reproductive technlogy, and adoption....[The book] is a powerful read that will resonate with the increasing numbers who experience difficulty becoming a parent (some six million at last count) and for the general reder, the first-rate writing in these quests will enlighten and reward.
Women's Review of Books
The Women's Review of Books
Run don't walk to buy this book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This hauntingly written and heartfelt collection assembled by Bialosky (The End of Desire) and Schulman (The Revisionist), who are also contributors, details the experiences of men and women who have wanted to have children but, for various reasons, found the road to parenthood paved with difficulties. Several of the essays deal with responses to infertility and miscarriage, such as Agnes Rossi's "In Vitro." Phillip Lopate's haunting "The Lake of Suffering" describes how he and his wife coped with the serious illness of their newborn daughter, and in "The Boys," Sophie Cabot Black discusses the method she and her female partner used to decide on the right male donor for their child. In one of the several selections on adoption, Tama Janowitz remembers the highs and lows of traveling to China with her husband to bring home their daughter. The short stories, including Marly Swick's fictional account of a surrogate mother ("The Summer Before the Summer of Love"), strengthen this unusual anthology.
For some people, wanting a child is not simply a matter of "first comes love, then comes, marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage." With couples marrying older, families breaking up and reforming, and many women not bothering to marry at all, traditional patterns of childbearing are out the window, and many couples are coming late to parenthood, with all the attendant difficulties. This stellar collection of essays and fiction from noted authors like Bob Shachocis, Amy Hempl, Tama Janowitz, and Ann Hood illuminate contemporary issues in childbearing: the anxiety of a pregant woman who has miscarried often, the joy of a single mother who adopts a Chinese girl, the determination of a lesbian couple to have their own baby, the awful pain of failing yet again to conceive after numerous infertility treatments. With so many guides available on getting pregnant and staying pregnant, collections need a book like this that adds a truly human dimension to the discussion. Highly recommended.
Leslie Chess Feller
Helen Schulman, a novelist, and Jill Bialosky, a poet and editor, in their determination to address losses never 'allowed to be real,' have collected 22 personal essays in Wanting a Child. Each story in this moving anthology reiterates the universal need to be a parent, to experience what the essayist Michael Berube, father of an asthmatic child and a Down syndome child, describes as "this overwhelming, bone-crushing, life-transforming, complicated feeling of wonder."
New York Times Book Review
Yet another well-crafted single-subject essay collection, this one about the difficulties of becoming parents. Poet Bialosky and novelist Schulman (Out of Time, 1991, etc.) have assembled the works of 22 writers that reveal how for them, like many who have the natural desire for children, "things don't come as easily or as quickly as we once imagined they would." They show that the obstacles touch families of all kinds, including straight, gay, step-families, and single parents, and spring from several sourcespostponement of pregnancy, a late marriage, no marriage, adoption agency horrors. For Bob Shacochis, the issue is in the couple's inability to conceive; for Steve Byrnes, it's surrogacy for a same-sex family; for Tama Janowitz, it's an adoption in China; for Phillip Lopate, it's a young daughter's chronic illness; for Bialosky, it's honoring two infant deaths. Some tales are harrowing, some joyful; but none are simple. And all, no matter the situation, incorporate Barbara Jones's observation about parental obsessionþthat "once you have thought of her as yours nothing will stop you from wanting her. And only some terrible force outside of your control will prevent you from having her." Yet despite the diversity in experience and notion of family, there are similarities of age and outlook that readers may find either reassuring or redundant. These works hold the views of a reflective middle age. Just as similar are the narrators: Articulate, analytical, they often live hand-to-mouth and keep odd schedules-why, they're writers! Anyone looking for the experiences of a lawyer or sales clerk will have to wait for an oral history or an afternoon talk show. Forthose in prime parenting years who have faced such trials, these are voices of comfort and wonder.