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Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers Paperback – May 1, 2001


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Frequently Bought Together

Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers + The Hip Mama Survival Guide: Advice from the Trenches on Pregnancy, Childbirth, Cool Names, Clueless Doctors, Potty Training, and Toddler Avengers + The Mother Trip: Hip Mama's Guide to Staying Sane in the Chaos of Motherhood (Live Girls)
Price for all three: $47.85

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Product Details

  • Series: Live Girls
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580050514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580050517
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,408,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The voices of mothers--the real in-the-trenches voices of mothers--always threaten the status quo. Tell the truth about your ambivalence, rage, and passion--whether about miscarriage, breast pumps, or (as profiled here) your welfare-avoidance job as a stripper--and watch the general public recoil. But as every mother knows, there is nothing more comforting than finding another woman who is willing to sit in your kitchen and share the honest-to-God truth about mothering. So it takes a lot of best-girlfriend loyalty to write the gut-wrenching motherhood stories that you'll find in Breeder. And fortunately, coeditors Bee Lavender and Ariel Gore (The Hip Mama Survival Guide, The Mother Trip) had enough grit and pluck to get them published. (Both women are also the editors of the online and print magazine Hip Mama.)

This collection of Gen-X essays is especially courageous because of all the taboos it shatters. Writer Julie Jameson confesses that she was talking on the phone with her mom when she looked up and discovered that her teething son had found her newly purchased vibrator and was gnawing on the tip. Gayle Brandeis boasts about the heroic treks she's taken through the hidden folds of her children's bottoms, searching for pinworms like a cave explorer. Sara Manns writes about the desire to have a child with her lesbian wife, which leads her through the terrain of sperm donors, then miscarriage, and finally international adoption. And we can all be grateful to Peri Escarda for helping us find the "Perfect Name" to offer a daughter when she points between her legs and asks, "What's dat?"

Not all the stories are masterfully rendered. Some rely on raw urgency, such as Alex McCall's "Bomb Threat," in which she anxiously retrieves her daughter from a federal-building childcare facility on the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing. Yet many offer mature crafting as well as tender narration. When Min Jin Lee became pregnant, she thought about her own Korean immigrant upbringing and her downtrodden mother's enormous sacrifices. She writes, "These were my fears: One day my child would feel the need to make my life whole through her accomplishments, or worse, as an adult, she would be unable to ever remember me smiling at her as a little girl." Jessica Rigney writes a chillingly exquisite story about altering her family's legacy of suicide and silence through the conscious mothering of her son. These are the rough-and-ready voices of the next wave of motherhood, and like the generation of feminists before them, they continue to break new, fertile ground. One can hardly wait to hear the voices of their daughters. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Contrary to the intent of editors Gore and Lavender of the zine Hip Mama, this collection of essays by Gen-X writers proves that motherhood is much the same no matter what generation one is from. Many of the essays attempt to rely on the strength of their stories to keep the reader involved, but the stories are often carelessly written, predictable and generic. Among the exceptions is "Learning to Surf," in which Jennifer Savage thoughtfully recounts her journey from being 22-year-old single mom and punk rocker to a married mother of three learning to surf. Other stories are also unusual, but less reflective. "When I Was Garbage," Allison Crews's sangfroid account of her teenage pregnancy, does not explain how Crews was able to simply deny that she was pregnant for the first 16 weeks. "On the Road (with baby)" by China is equally unsatisfying, never illuminating why the author chose to hitchhike across the U.S. with her baby in tow for the first eight months of her daughter's life. Sadly, the recurrent themes sounded by these Gen-X voices alienation, economic insecurity and the importance of health insurance ("the beauty of health insurance tolls like a soft, sweet chime at three in the morning," writes Joy Castro) are never articulated clearly enough to express what makes this generation different from those that came before.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


More About the Author

I'm a California-born memoirist, journalist, and fiction writer--happiest working with words, trying to get closer to the truth, dreaming up ways the right words /right truths might mitigate the violence of life. I'm not sure why, but I often break my little toe. It's probably not my worst habit. I have degrees in writing from Mills College and U.C. Berkeley. I edit and publish the magazine Hip Mama and teach writing online at http://literarykitchen.com.

Customer Reviews

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I highly recommend this book for any new mother.
Tracey
I laughed, I cried, (a lot!), I want the t-shirt.
Mama Mia
Breeder shows everyday stories of everyday women.
Lizabeta

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Maia Rossini on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I think new mothers are some of the loneliest, most isolated people on earth. We can be found sitting in our comfortable rocking chairs, nursing our babes, and wondering why nobody bothered to tell us what motherhood was really like. Why nobody told us about the fear, the mind-jarring joy, the emotional intensity, and why nobody told us about the way that becoming mothers would forever change us. Most of the new mothers I know are searching for voices, looking for someone or something who can articulate what they are going through, trying to find someone to tell them that what they are feeling is not only normal and okay, but also as profound as we suspect it to be.
That's why a book like Breeder is so important. It's a collection of essays by a collection of young mothers (and one dad) who have a lot of truth to tell. It covers everything from the ambivalence a newly pregnant woman deals with (""Will" by Min Jin Lee) to the penetrating love and connection a teen mother feels even before her child is born ("When I Was Garbage" by Allison Crews). There is the story of the mother who sat vigil over her baby in the neonatal unit at a New York City hospital ("Neonatal Sweet Potato" by Ayun Halliday) and the story of a mother who discovered the ferocity and power of giving birth in her own home ("Birth" by Angela Morill). There are some very funny stories: "Pinworm Patrol" by Gayle Brandeis covers one of the dirtier, more necessary chores of motherhood, and should be required reading for anyone with romantic visions of sleeping cherub children with flushed cheeks and golden curls, and "Baby Vibe" by Julie Jamison is a hilarious story of the way a mother's sexuality can be compromised by the innocent things her child may do.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a friend who is hipper (or perhaps weirder, depending on your point of view) than I am. The quality of writing in this book is very high, and I enjoyed reading each piece. For me, the most moving parts were the bits about very universal feelings of joy, fear, anger, pain, etc. The specific situations the authors found themselves in frequently seemed quite foreign to me, but I read it very quickly and found myself quite absorbed. For me, I think "Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood" hit closer to home.
I'd expected friends who are more conservative than I am to find little to relate to, but one of my most conventional friends (who recently suffered a miscarriage) was moved to tears by an account of a similar story in Breeder. After hearing how much this story moved my friend, I changed my mind and sent the book to my mother, who I'd initially thought would be too distracted by the specific situations and attitudes of the authors to enjoy the book. No word back from my mother yet!

I think the moral is that there's something for everyone in this very well-written book. I applaud the editors for compiling stories to encourage mothers to give themselves a break, and for providing a much more diverse set of parent role models than mainstream publications do.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By stressmagnet on July 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Despite reading the 'anti' reviews, I bought myself a copy. I soon realised that the people who posted such vitriolic reviews had were merely posting as an excuse to air their anti-child views. Whatever. I am a suburban 40 year old mother with a child. I would say that I am 'less than hip' and probably fall outside the marketing target for this book. But I found the stories to be insightful, engaging and full of humour. I nodded my head many times in understanding and have recommended it to mothers in my circle of friends as a way to open up discussion. The beauty of this book is that it is universally appealing to all women who have had children. The stories are fresh and witty - and make you feel that you are not alone. I highly recommend it to any woman who is thinking of having children, or who already has them. You don't have to be hip to love this book.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
As the author of a book of stories about pregnancy (Pregnancy Stories) and an avid reader about books on the subject of motherhood, I am overwhelmed with enthusiasm for this amazing, provocative, and impressive collection. There is no other book that presents motherhood in such depth and with such honesty, insight, and diversity and for that I think every mother must read Breeder. Let it be said that I am probably seven to ten years older than most of the Breeder contributors. However, this age difference didn't make the book any less relevant or validating to me. I have already purchased it as a gift for several friends and I urge all Moms to read these essays. Within them you will find support for and insight into the ideas, emotions, worries and joys that mothers grapple with constantly. Brava to these mamas for giving us something so necessary and so refreshing.
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28 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
It's not often we (and we know who we are!) get a chance to say "Hey, me too! What she said!" This great new collection of personal stories gave me so many opportunities to laugh, cry and sigh in agreement, that my husband was distracted from his reading of Rolling Stone a number of times to ask me "What now?" He ended up reading some of the essays, and found that they spoke for him as well.
There are so many things about parenting that don't change, generation to generation. But Breeder is full of experiences I could relate to, and it was written in my native language! What's not to love? When is the next one coming out, Ms. Gore?
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