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The Zygote Chronicles: A Novel Paperback – May 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802139817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802139818
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,284,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"This is the time of real butter," writes Suzanne Finnamore in The Zygote Chronicles, her fictional journal of pregnancy. In fresh, fed-up language, Finnamore (Otherwise Engaged) captures the universal truths of pregnancy that can seem almost insultingly personal when they happen to you. Finnamore sings the joys of whole cream dairy products, but the blues make themselves heard as well. The narrator, an advertising executive, frets about her credibility at work. "I'm a little worried that I won't have any authority left when I get big and have Pamela Anderson breasts. I may have to compensate in some way. I may have to start carrying a hammer." Women have always been funny about pregnancy, and Finnamore gets all that black humor down on paper. It should be noted, however, that the narrator's grousing can wear a bit thin, given her station in life (she laments giving up her Miata for an SUV). Even so, The Zygote Chronicles should take its place alongside Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions as essential reading for the intelligent breeder. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

As she proved in her first novel, Otherwise Engaged, Finnamore knows how to tickle the funny bone. In her second book, the womb is the anatomical part that's the focus of her attention. With witty insights, a mother-to-be narrates the journey of her first pregnancy in the form of journal entries to her baby-to-be. At 38, the narrator is borderline terrified about having a baby later than most, and she expresses her insecurities about and observations on the process with comic abandon. She also questions whether the advertising career where she's achieved the heady titles of v-p and creative director, will disappear the moment she gives birth. And as a parent, can she do better than her frequently unemployed, usually drunk dad? Under physical and psychological stress, she sometimes flares up at her 49-year-old husband, who remains loving and steadfast throughout, although he is a bit of a dreamy ghost figure until the big day. Another anchor is her best friend, Diana, who is expecting her second child at the same time. They cheerlead each other on through the many phases of pregnancy including that of "beached whale." For all her neurotic complaints, there is a sincere sweetness to the heroine's complaints. The plot, while straightforward, is nuanced by the narrator's sad thoughts of a long-ago abortion and her complicated, touching memories of her family. Alert readers will note that the character's newborn bears the same initial as the dedication, "To P," surely the author's child, and perhaps the reason that this witty and poignant chronicle rings true. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. 4-city author tour. (Feb. 2)Engaged, for which Finnamore is writing the pilot.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I can't wait for her next book- I'm a fan for life!
kemp
I feel like Suzanne Finnamore is a friend and now that I have just read Zygote Chronicles, I feel as though I have shared so much of her life.
"bamcmahon2"
A delightfully touching, funny book filled with heart, sensititivity, love and unrelenting wit.
Margo Beck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Margo Beck on February 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A must read! A delightfully touching, funny book filled with heart, sensititivity, love and unrelenting wit. I laughed and I cried. The Zygote Chronicles begins the moment this mother-to-be conceives her firstborn until her son's birth. It is a quick, can't-put-it-down read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever considered or experienced motherhood. A great gift for someone expecting. Beautifully written.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
As some other reviewers have pointed out, it's strange that this book is marketed as a novel, when it's clearly a memoir. I think the fact that it's so obviously a true account of a pregnancy is one of the main things that makes it so appealing, at least to pregnant chicks like me. We don't want to read some made-up fictional version of a pregnancy; we want the real thing, told by someone else who's been there. And in this sense (to borrow a bad pun) the Zygote Chronicles delivers.
Finnamore's account not feels authentic, it's also very funny. She is an excellent writer, and although many of her concerns may strike you as either overwrought (eg. her extreme guilt over wishing for a girl baby) or frivolous (she's bummed about having to sell her convertible), this author's voice is so witty and engaging that you're sure to like her anyway.
I am not sure if I would have enjoyed this book so much if I weren't pregnant, but since I am, I loved it. If you're like me, and sick to death of reading boring, impersonal pregnancy guides (half of them written by male doctors and seemingly designed to make you as paranoid as possible) then you will doubtless treasure this book and want to share it with all your pregnant friends.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on March 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I loved reading Otherwise Engaged. Its wit, intelligence and sometimes dark but precise comic timing made it one of my favorite contemporary novels. I have long awaited a second effort from her, and was pleased to read The Zygote Chronicles.
As a writer, I know all about the autobiographical elements used in fiction -- and I also agree that this could easily be mistaken for a memoir -- but even if there were no embellishments, Finnamore used the prose, wit and unique language she used in her previous effort (which I suspect had autobiographical elements as well). The heroine's observations and different stages of her pregnancy are hilarious, touching and poignant -- something every mother-to-be or wannabe mom should read. I hope to read more books from this author in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I agree with Phillip Levine's endorsement--Suzanne Finnamore's first book was great, but "Zygote" is even better. I really loved every minute of this! I've never been pregnant--or engaged, for that matter--but I relate to her characters and their experiences on virtually every level anyway. It's a cliche, but this book made me laugh AND cry throughout--I've already read it twice! I have never written an author a fan letter in my life, but I was tempted to over this book. Suzanne, if you read this, please keep writing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "bamcmahon2" on January 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am an older married woman and just experienced Otherwise Engaged and was so sad when it ended. I feel like Suzanne Finnamore is a friend and now that I have just read Zygote Chronicles, I feel as though I have shared so much of her life.
Zygote Chronicles was utterly delightful, poignant, everything said in the above reviews plus warm and engaging.
This brilliant writer captures my attention in a nanosecond and holds it.
I simply cannot wait for the next adventure in life or ANYTHING Suzanne Finnamore writes!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bunny Mathews on January 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have reread the Zygote Chronicles many times and recommended it to all the new moms in my circle of friends. The book ends with the word "life", referring to her baby boy. I oft en wondered what happened to that baby and was hoping for a sequel. My February issue of CHILD just came to me and I was so delighted to see that Suzanne Finnamore has a regular column in this charming magazine. The saga of her boy continues - he is now five years old, a funny, loving, joyful, treasure to his family. Little Pablo is indeed full of "life". Not quite a sequel to Zygote the column is ,however, a happy progress report on a little boy whose birth was a difficult and dangerous journey toward a life that culminated in a happy ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After reading this touching, funny and extremely well written journey of the 9 LONG months of carrying a human being, I found myself smiling, crying and joyful at the triumphant victory of both parents and the baby.
This is one blessed baby to be so loved and treasured. A moving and honest book of unconditional love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I was at Cal years ago, I took a class on Women's literature. I found that the recently published attempts of many young women were just that- not very successful attempts at finding a new voice in literature. Watery, unfocused prose with pretensions to innovation, as if weak writing, because it does not survive the test of time, was somehow something new.
When I pointed out certain obvious deficiencies in the then-current crop of female writers, women in the class responded that I was using the standards of male writers. But of course, the only way to write is well, and how is up to the author. New ways to write well about the issues of the human condition are always going to hold water, and in this Ms. Finnamore succeeds.
There is a masterful ( a masculine gendered word which is, however, inclusive) balance between the drama and the comedy of the timeless human situations of the story. In the last 30 years or so, most women writers who caused a moment or two of notice were decidedly one- dimensional. But Ms. Finnamore has the stuff to be included with the few who have had something relevant (excuse that overused 70's word) to say after the initial stir has passed. It is likely that her place belongs a little to the right or left of writers such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, rather than with the Erica Jongs and Erma Bombecks. (Remember them? If you do, you're wasting your time. )
Highest possible recommendation.
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