From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A memoir is a success when it transcends the personal incidents about which it is written. So, while it's true that mothers expecting their second child will find the most to relate to in this exposé of domestic life, Newman's volume is a success because it never gets mired in self-centered pity or satire. Rather, hers is an honest and tender exploration of a particularly vulnerable and lovely period in life, a work that all readers can enjoy. Adapted from Newman's online journal, "Bringing up Ben & Birdy," the book opens with the author's discovery that she's pregnant for the second time. "Run and tell your teenaged daughters!" she jokes. "It's not enough to keep some birth control stashed in the drawer of your bedside table-you actually have to use it." Along with waves of nausea and strong food aversions, Newman's pregnancy provokes worries about the ways in which the coming baby will alter her treasured relationship with her first child, a toddler named Ben. But as the unborn baby, known as Birdy, becomes more of a reality, Newman realizes that the love she feels for her first child is only expanding. The author bravely endures every mother's worst trials, from suspicious prenatal test results to angst of the more philosophical nature, but her sweet, self-deprecating humor keeps the book rolling lightly along. And once Birdy arrives, Newman ushers readers through the early milky days of babyhood, her insight casting a gentle light on both the ugly and transcendent moments. Honest, tender and funny, this book is so good that readers will look forward to reading more about this marvelously ordinary family.
"Might be the funniest—and most astute—account of a mother's first years with her child since Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions." —Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives and Before You Know Kindness
"Catherine Newman's new book about the rock and roll life of newborn parents is hysterical... Don't give birth without it." —Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Baby Bat's Lullaby