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Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood Hardcover – April 2, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393078280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393078282
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.” (Colm Tóibín)

“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.” (Boston Sunday Globe)

“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.” (More)

“[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.” (The Dallas Morning News)

“Winning and witty.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[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 - Wall Street Journal)

About 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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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. Taylor on May 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
At last American parents have access to this book. I loved reading this after I had my baby. I related to its honesty and humour. I felt vindicated, as if someone had at last put into words the incredibly complicated feelings motherhood evokes. I was sick and tired of the all the endless manuals on sleep and feeding, I felt isolated by the saccharine and horrible fresh diapered image of motherhood that pervades the media in the USA. And this book told it how it is. She is also a brilliant writer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ready Mommy on September 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
You know that friend who always makes you ask the journalistic Five W's? Like, where in the world did you find her? What just came out of her mouth? Who actually says that? When will she lighten up? Why do you keep hanging out with her? How will you explain her appeal to your other friends? Meet my new pal Anne Enright, an Irish author with accolades to spare and a several-tour veteran of her own grisly psychological war.

Enright recorded her first few years of "Making Babies" (i.e., motherhood) in a stream-of-consciousness that varies in degree from babbling brook to rushing river. At one point she writes, "Finished feeding, I go back on the cigarettes. I am addicted to nicotine, but I am also addicted to slipping away for two minutes every hour, and being alone." At another she asks, "Why do we assume that babies are happy in the womb? They come out looking for your face, so who is to say they are not lonely, all those weeks when there is no face there? And maybe . . . growth []hurts, in the womb, as it does outside, and all that squawking in the early weeks is not a mourning for paradise lost, but just making up for lost time." The resulting part-journal, part-blog format - overlayed throughout by a literary sensibility - continually perplexed and intrigued me.

I found many of Enright's descriptions accessible, relatable, and marked by that brand of funny that's not just smart-funny or dark-funny, but smart-dark-funny, like the chocolate raindrop from Godiva that's filled with ganache and almond praliné paste. For example, she writes: "I measure [other mothers] against myself for age, sudden fat, and despair"; and "[i]f you are a woman and you clean, society thinks that you are fantastically well balanced and sane, . . .
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth G. James on November 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book started off great, so funny and true! I was really enjoying it and then the editor must have decided to stop working. Anne seemed to write about everything that crossed her mind whether it was relevant to the previous thought or not. At about page 125 I started to read faster, skipping over whole sentances just trying to finish (I am no quitter). It went from funny and heartwarming to rambling and confusing and a little depressing. The chapters got longer with less flow. I would not recommend this book and I would recommend an immediate firing of the editor.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rae A. Francoeur on June 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Anne Enright is one of Ireland's great storytellers. Her novel, "The Gathering," won the 2007 Man Booker Prize and "The Forgotten Waltz" was enthusiastically reviewed here last year. Her short, quirky, hilarious, often dumbfounding nonfiction book, "Making Babies: Stumbling into Motherhood," has just come out in the United States. It was first published in Britain in 2004.

Enright had plenty of time to mature as a writer before giving birth to a daughter and later a son. Her daughter was born 18 years after she married Martin. The book is a series of anecdotal essays exploring everything that interests her in that time of intensive nurturing and distancing from the workaday world.

We have all had similar thoughts but the writer catches them before they disappear, works a bit at understanding them and unites all of us parents in a circle of hilarity and helplessness. For example, after a couple of drinks at a party, the new mom asks some of the men, "When does the sex thing, you know ... get back on track?" Instead of answers, she writes, "I get a pained, melancholic silence." The contents of a baby's diaper? Well, that's something everyone readily talks about. "Endlessly."

Enright considers alien conceptions, a baby's personality (it "rises to the surface of her face, like a slowly developing Polaroid"), even the pros and cons of fastidiousness. "Dirt doesn't kill people. Wash your hands, not the house. Be careful with food. That's it really." As for men's lack of attention to detail, especially when it comes to domestic chores, she gives us harried women folk some advice. "Watch this behaviour closely if you think incompetence isn't about power. It is the weak who are busy and efficient."

Do not think Enright is caustic, sarcastic or judgmental.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This looked really interesting, but the author just drones on. I was not sure what her point was half the time. I got very bored with it and never finished it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BemisReviewsBooks on September 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Slobbering Into Motherhood would perhaps be a better title to these observations into the battleground of Motherhood fron the war-weary front lines. At times tedious but always dead on with a laser like accuracy that explains to both the initiated and uninitiated that Motherhood is some serious Sh$&. The overall tone is that of a person still half out of her mind from the rigors of responsibility and the utter lack of proper sleep. Her humor tends toward dry. The book did have the effect of causing me to remember life before it all began. Did I once have one? Cultural barriers aside, these jotted observations are decidedly dark. Since I have read nothing from this author before, I have no frame of reference from her other works but she comes through load and clear. No reason for her to worry about losing her sense of self in all the messiness of mothering. Getting it down on paper and getting it published will probaby be her salvation.
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