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Wanting a Child Paperback – May, 1999

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This unique anthology features stories about an appetite as raw as any for sex or chocolate. It's about the sharp biological and emotional hunger for children: "A craving," writes contributor Rita Gabis, "hammered out of the bones of things, of winter, frozen groundwater, the sudden naked appearance of spring." In essays and short stories commissioned and republished from magazines such as Harper's and The New Yorker, authors including Kevin Canty and Lisa Shea write eloquently of the quest for children, of its derailments and its delights. Surprisingly often they tell of the pain endured in the search for a child of one's own. Lynn Lauber offers a heartbreaking piece on giving a daughter up for adoption at age 16, and finding her again as an adult. Bob Shacochis describes a grueling trip through the world of fertility treatments. "Between I'm not dead and I'm alive, the lesson to learn is fearless love," writes Jenifer Levin. "It isn't easy."

If there is one weakness in this collection, it is that it tells almost exclusively the stories of middle-class, middle-aged America--stories of remarkable privilege in which getting a child can involve months away from work, international travel, and expensive medical consultation. Nevertheless, Wanting a Child offers some dazzling writing and an often remarkable, openhearted honesty about parenthood that make it well worth reading. "Never have I felt such triumphs and inadequacies, such pleasure or such sorrow," writes Shea of her leap into single motherhood. "...And never have I relished so thoroughly the existence of another person in my life." --Maria Dolan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374525943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374525941
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,783,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am 4 months pregnant and got this book as a gift. I'm not sure if the person who bought it for me realized what it was about. As an expectant mom reading stories of the troubles people had conceiving and carrying children, it made me depressed and anxious - what if my child has Down's syndrome, what if it's stillborn, etc. So, if you have had trouble conceiving, by all means, this book is great support. I believe people need to "bond" with others who share similar trials and tribulations. But if you are not, and are easily spooked, I'd suggest picking up something more light-hearted and happy.
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Format: Paperback
Jill Bialosky & Helen Schulman, editors
Wanting a Child

(New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1998) 274 pages
(ISBN: 0-374-28634-5; hardback)
(Library of Congress call number: HQ755.8.W367 1998)

This book is worth reading for the sheer beauty of the writing.
This collection consists of several first-person accounts
of the experiences that emerged from wanting a child.
The two editors both had several miscarriages
before they finally achieved motherhood.
Here are some of the stories, summarized in one line each:
Lesbian parenthood by donated sperm.
Parenthood by donated egg.
Several stories of adoption, foreign and domestic.
Stories of how a child with very serious health problems
make happy parents miserable.
Buying a baby from a pregnant teen-ager.
Connecting with a child given up for adoption years before.
Deciding about a Downs syndrome fetus.
Two gay men have children by a surrogate mother.
Divorced mother happy to have her only child.
Two gay men adopt a baby.
Stories of still-born babies.

Once again, you will appreciate reading these stories
not because of their content (which is often very dramatic)
but because of the high quality of the writing.
Whatever we think about the events described,
this book is a delight to read.

However, not one of the persons represented in this book
ever wonders why people have children.
Wanting a child is assumed to be a valid desire,
which needs no justification at all.

After reading this book, you may conclude
that adoption is the most reasonable parental behavior.
Millions of babies are born by accident
to teen-age mothers all around the world.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on January 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this to be an excellent book. My husband and I are coping with secondary infertility. The real-life trials and tribulations of the people in this book gave me some new found hope to continue my journey. The writers of each of the individual cases did an excellent job of depicting their quest for parenthood.
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Format: Paperback
I happened to come across this book after the loss of a pregnancy, and it was deeply moving. Through the authors' own stories, I was able to process my own and to truly heal. I have given it to friends coping with the longing for a child amidst difficulties, as it provides a beautiful, sincere lens with which to help make sense of the often difficult and emotional path to a child.
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