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Showing 1-10 of 18 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 48 reviews
on May 23, 2017
I read the other reviews for this book and I really wanted to like it. I saw that some readers railed against the negative tone and overall disillusionment with which Cusk approaches her subject—one I will be embarking upon myself in a few short weeks. I decided to try it, though, because others said Cusk is honest and raw; I thought perhaps the readers who wanted her to be more positive were just uncomfortable with that honesty and rawness.

I was eager to crack the cover when it arrived, and—although the somber tone of the introduction did give me pause—I gave this book what I felt like was a fair shot. Cusk's prose can be quite enchanting in its style and she quotes writers like D.H. Lawrence and Bronte heavily, using examples from literature to frame her narrative—unfortunately, these excerpts from the big names in literature were possibly the most compelling part of Cusk's book. My overall feeling is that Cusk seems to have given birth within a starkly unsupportive context—she doesn't seem to know how to advocate for herself during her C-section birth and attempts to get help from a very lame-sounding breastfeeding support clinic. At one point, about halfway through the book and after an exhausting litany of complaints about motherhood in general, Cusk comments that she didn't know or realize she was going to have to feed her daughter every 3 hours for the first year. First—this of course isn't true once a mother and child can settle into a routine. Second—did Cusk not orient herself at all to what having a newborn is like? Had she not spoken to her friends who were mothers, her midwife, or a pediatrician...ever?

I came away with the overwhelming feeling that Cusk was reveling in complaining about the domestic and un-egalitarian aspects of pregnancy and motherhood—an age-old, if not dated, gripe. Again, I wanted to like this book, but felt that the complaints were not rounded out by the amazement of motherhood or loving fascination with her baby. The honesty and rawness I anticipated was almost never accompanied by humor or levity.

I won't be recommending this book to my friends as they become pregnant—I'll stick to Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bebe.
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on May 18, 2017
Some very funny and familiar descriptions of first time motherhood
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on May 4, 2017
Ms. Cusk articulates the hardships, joys, and personal loss of self that happen upon new motherhood in a way that websites, blogs, and forums just cannot. Thoughtful and though provoking.
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on November 1, 2016
Thoughtful and sometimes amusing first-person account of a British woman's experiences adjusting to the birth of her first baby and her attempt to go back to her writing career. She describes her own difficulties and other people's reactions from her husband's to her friends to cabdrivers to the series of people she interviews to be nannies. Although her life is more privileged than most women's, she experiences the same physical and psychological changes that most women go through. Her reflections on those are intelligent and insightful.
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on March 29, 2016
Great honest exhausting but wonderful narrative
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on July 7, 2015
A truly honest view of what it's like to end up having a Ceasarian when you've been told that pregnancy is a lark. Later she falls into a bit of PC in rearing the child, but overall a voice for women who are overwhelmed by rosy advice minimizing the life's work that birthing a human being brings.
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on June 20, 2015
At first seeming like a complete downer, I almost gave up because I had just come out on the other side of an emergency c-section and just wanted to read something encouraging. I love having a baby- she sleeps, hardly cries... She's amazing. So at first I found myself thinking "wow this woman really hates being a mother!"

But I kept reading because I was on a plane from New York to Vegas with my 2 month old and I didn't have much else to do. She continued to really sound like she absolutely hated being a parent but as I read on she was honest, smart, funny, and admittedly very right about a lot of things. I started to enjoy hearing her story and became interested in her experience so that by the end I was wishing there was more!

If I recall from the reviews some people didn't like her writing style. I thought it was fun- a nice, poetic break from everything else I've read recently. Rachel seemed content to own her own experience without any noticeable intention of trying to give or receive anything. She just wrote like she was telling her story to someone that wouldn't be offended and once I caught on, I really enjoyed it.
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on June 10, 2015
She voiced many thought I had myself when I was pregnant & having kids. Good book.
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on April 6, 2015
Great read to give a mother-to-be an idea of the near future. Not a self-help or guidance book, but well written. Will be especially of interest to readers who are keen on literature since there are quite some examples givem of parenthood/motherhood in literature.
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on May 16, 2014
A very funny look at early motherhood from a professional woman's viewpoint; puts to words a lot of my feelings in a humorous way. I've given to several of my friends.
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