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Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness Paperback – March 3, 2015

3.7 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Women without children have long confronted disapproval subtle and outright. Whether by choice or circumstance, the inability to accomplish this seemingly most natural of conditions is often neither the default nor desired setting for many women. With statistics now showing that nearly half of all women of child-bearing age are childless, the dearth of informed insight and compassionate support for women in this emotional limbo leaves a huge percentage of the population feeling paradoxically both invisible and conspicuous. Author of the best-seller, Savvy Auntie (2011), and founder of the Savvy Auntie brand that celebrates the numerous contributions of nonmothers to the children in their lives, Notkin explores the complex ramifications of being a childless modern woman. If, as the old rhyme predicts, first comes love, then comes marriage, Notkin sagely examines the rocky road a woman wanders on the way to filling (or not) the next-in-sequence baby carriage. Although childlessness is the book’s clear focus, Notkin’s spot-on appraisal of the pitfalls of the current dating scene provides equally valuable insights for any woman struggling to accept the sobering realities of contemporary romance or reproduction. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review


"Life doesn’t always unfold the way we expect. In this thought-provoking, honest, and often hilarious exploration of 'otherhood,' Melanie Notkin describes the pleasures and pain of coming to grips with the life she actually has—a childfull life, without children of her own. An essential read for anyone interested in what it’s like to be a woman today."
Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of Happier at Home and The Happiness Project

“In Otherhood, Melanie Notkin gives a fresh voice to a largely unseen, misunderstood part of the population: the unmarried, childless female. After you read this book, you’ll discover she isn’t who you thought she was.”
Stacy London, Style Expert

“In a poignant reported memoir, Otherhood gives voice to a growing, but often hidden segment of society: women who are still waiting for love, marriage and children. With honest humor, Notkin gives the beautiful, bright, talented, single women something no one else does: hope.”
Amy Klein, New York Times Motherlode “Fertility Diary” columnist

“Families aren’t what they used to be, but here Melanie Notkin shows that they’ve recombined, not fallen apart. Otherhood is powerful, not only because it charts an important role for modern women in an age of singles and solos, but also because it’s sharp, witty, and insightful. A terrific read.”
Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone

“Melanie Notkin has tapped into the deep need we all have for a new language of love. Otherhood is the perfect book for these times—honest, romping, vulnerable, uplifting. Read it now, because everyone will be talking about it soon.”
Bruce Feiler, New York Times columnist and bestselling author of The Secrets of Happy Families

“Heartbreaking, insightful and ultimately affirming, Otherhood is Notkin’s anguished but undefeated post-feminist battle cry on behalf of childless women of a certain age who refuse to settle for a lesser love.”
Jonathan Tropper, bestselling author of This Is Where I Leave You

“In Otherhood, Melanie Notkin brilliantly reveals feminism’s dirty little secret: the most fabulous women today are not finding love, marriage, or the baby carriage. They are creating—in a way The Feminine Mystique did not predict—a new, equally extraordinary kind of happiness.”
Karen Lehrman Bloch, author of The Lipstick Proviso: Women, Sex & Power in the Real World

“In Otherhood, Melanie Notkin, takes the reader on an intimate and insightful journey of what it’s like to be single, never married and childless when apparently no one thinks you should be. She courageously invites us into her intimate world, experiences, and feelings, in a way most close friends wouldn’t even do. And in doing so, she beautifully highlights the importance of being authentic and true to yourself, even if your dreams and wishes don’t come on cue.”
Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and TV commentator

“Melanie Notkin’s Otherhood is empowering and enlightening for a generation of modern women who don’t want to settle in order to settle down. This book will resonate not only with single women but also with those who love them.”
Andrea Syrtash, author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing) and Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband)

"Otherhood is a timely book offering up valuable guidance on how to feel appreciated and supported while being self-reliant. Melanie Notkin’s genuine love for her reader shines through each page. Notkin is a powerful leader for all women as they enter into 'otherhood.'"
Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times bestselling author of May Cause Miracles

"Any woman who has ever felt bad about not being 'on track' will find hope and inspiration in Notkin’s readable, compelling book. The experience is like chatting with an old college friend who hands you a mug of tea and kindly reminds you to stop bitching already and get busy creating and celebrating an authentic awesome life."
Sarah Elizabeth Richards, author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (March 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580055710
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580055710
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read "Otherhood" over a weekend, once I started I could not put it down!!! It was so refreshing, motivating and validating to know I am not the only woman to be part of this demographic. So many parts of this book echoed my own life. If Melanie Notkin had been in the room when I read the last page, I would have said "THANK YOU for writing this" over and over!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book pissed me off. The title and the marketing were misleading—“Modern Women finding a new kind of Happiness”. I would describe the author and her “woe-is-me I can’t find a suitable man and have a baby despite the fact that I’ve tried everything” as anything but happiness—more like sour grapes. The only redeeming part of the book was at the very end when she decided that her life was pretty great, despite not having what society thinks should make us all happy and fulfilled—i.e. a husband and children. In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want”. There are so many ways to live a happy, productive life that contributes to the betterment of society without having to pop out a genetic replica of oneself. THAT is what This I thought this book was about, not a 300+ page whine-fest about the single girl dilemma in the upscale Manhattan society circles. True, women who are childless by circumstance are a real thing, not just in Manhattan and I believe this segment will continue to grow and should be recognized. I do applaud the author for not settling for less than what she wants when so many people are telling this segment of society to just marry “Mr. Good Enough” in order to have a baby, something that is a disservice to both parties and just results in divorce and drama down the road. This segment of the population is a thriving, productive cohort—Why not expound upon what they are doing, how they are contributing and why they should be recognized and applauded for following the road less travelled, despite the reason how they came to travel that road?
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Format: Hardcover
This book is in a word: needed. Mel Notkin gives voice to what so many women like her (over 40+) and childfree cannot. It's one thing to not choose marriage & kids, it is another to end up there by life, challenges, circumstance, or career. Thank you for a great book all GENX and GENY women should read. If you are a married woman, read this book to better understand your friends who are not.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm 35, successful, fun and funny-as-hell... and single and childless. This is the perfect trifecta of research, having cocktails with Ms. Notkin, and reading my personal journal. In fact, I may just stop journaling because this book has it packaged perfectly. Read this book--and somebody send me flowers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'The Otherhood' could have been penned by my own words. As I read this book, my jaw dropped continuously at the similarities that Melanie and her friends have dealt with as single women and/or not having children. I couldn't put the book down. I was drawn in by her revelations of the realities that women deal with when dating and looking for love. I fully agree in that I want the entire package, as well. I want a family...a husband and wife that cherish one another and raise a child together. I will not settle. I commend single mothers yet it not the life that I choose. I love Melanie's perspective on life knowing she is surrounded by friends, family and loved ones. My life has been tremendously enhanced by the children in my life, specifically my niece and nephew. As I read this book, I felt liberated knowing that I am not alone. To all of us struggling with this generational conundrum, let's continue to press on to live our best lives now! I feel empowered knowing that there is a group of women who share my heart's cry and thankful that our voices can finally be heard.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not a woman and I do have kids of my own. But I know so many women who are, in fact, modern women. I know so many women who can and do give so much to the world, without becoming moms. This book is perfect for them, and for any woman struggling to find their path in life. Two likeable thumbs up from me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book....but it was just filled with cranky single women complaining about their dates. Zero entertainment value, and not the empowering tribute to non-parenthood I was expecting.
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Format: Kindle Edition
First off, let's be clear - this is NOT a book for women who happily made the choice to be "Childfree". If you're looking for that sort of book, this isn't it. It's also not one of the "be a single mother by choice" books (I have a few of those too, from earlier explorations in my 30s). This is a singular book made for a demographic of women that is incredibly underserved: single women who are aging out of their fertility, but who yearn to have children the "old-fashioned way" - with a loving partner.

Let's be clear #2: Even as single, 37-year-old woman in NYC, Notkin's life is not my life. She spends much of the book talking to upper-class friends in fancy restaurants and about dates with hedge fund managers. She name-drops the Hamptons a lot. Her friends are wildly successful businesswomen. Parts of the book read like Sex and the City - and that's okay! That's Notkin's life, and she's not making it up.

My friends are mid-level managers and scientists and non-profit grunts. We do brunch at tiny cafes, and cheer when one of us can afford a one-bedroom in Queens, and date graphic designers and musicians. But the MEAT of the conversations Notkin recounts rings so, so true, even for me. And the parts where she's introspective about her grief around coming to terms with the fact that her life may never be the life she imagined for herself at 25 - married, with kids of her own - those hit me like a punch to the gut.

There aren't a lot of resources out there for women who feel like me, even though I know for a fact that we exist in droves. It's just wonderful to not feel alone in this sadness. It's also good to hear that there is a way through it, as Notkin found, and that my "found family" is just like hers - loving and supportive, and the best thing in my life. It may not be a white picket fence, but my girls have my back and so, I think, does Melanie Notkin.
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