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Paradise, Piece by Piece Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The author of four volumes of poetry, Molly Peacock proves she is equally adept at prose in this vividly graceful memoir. Some would say that Paradise, Piece by Piece is one more story of growing up in a dysfunctional family (alcoholic father, depressed mother, rebellious younger sister). Others would focus on Peacock's turbulent romantic life, while others still would place the emphasis on her decision to remain childless.

The truth of the matter is that all of these threads are vital components of a single, intricately woven tapestry, held together by Peacock's painstaking attention to detail. Anybody who has struggled to define his or her own life against the expectations and demands of others (be they society or one's own blood) will find inspiration in Molly Peacock's life. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

This witty, involving memoir by award-winning poet Peacock (Original Love) tells the story of her decision not to have children, a choice first contemplated at the age of three when her sister, Gail, was born. A native of upstate New York, Peacock recounts her coming of age and the quasi-maternal role she had to assume with her alcoholic father and flower-child sister while her spunky mother, Polly, shouldered the family's finances by buying and running a small store. Describing her education as a poet, Peacock interweaves epiphanies about motherhood into the details of her life, including a college roommate's abortion, her satisfaction as a public school writing teacher and her decade-long relationship with a domineering, if occasionally charming, Hungarian dance-troupe director with whom she became pregnant accidentally in her late 30s. Peacock had an abortion and a tubal ligation before her lover abandoned her, leaving her feeling bereft yet free to resume a liaison with her first boyfriend, now a Joyce scholar in Canada, whom she then married. Peacock, president emerita of the Poetry Society of America, writes vividly, sensitively, poetically, recreating her life as artist and woman. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573227307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573227308
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,611,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Encountering an uncorrected proof of this book at a local Friends of the Library book sale, the selling point for me was the author's statement that she began writing this book because she wanted to tell the story of why she decided not to have children.
Being a member of what feels like a definite minority -- men and women who have chosen to remain childfree -- I welcome the viewpoint of anyone who affirms this choice as a valid one. Too often, society inflicts a completely different viewpoint upon me.
People who don't know about the decision my husband and I have made, assume unthinkingly that we will have children at some point in our lives.
When people do find out about our choice, many of them tell us our lives are incomplete, that we are being selfish, that we don't really mean it. One woman, apparantly believing that our stated decision was a cover-up for inability, asked me if I am able to have children. A male gynecologist, not content to merely warn me that if I change my mind, I should have children before I turn 35, waxed poetic for several minutes about how choosing to have a child is an "affirmation of life."
Again and again, our choice is reacted to with extreme negativity and so, a book like Ms. Peacock's is a much-needed antidote.
Of course, her book is much more than a first-hand account of the decision to remain childfree. It is a poetic account of her life, of her development as a poet and as a woman.
This intimate and moving memoir is an outstanding work of literature. Yes, it holds special meaning for me because I am a kindred spirit -- another woman who has chosen to remain childfree -- but the book can also be enjoyed on other levels by people who have made a different decision. Ms. Peacock's story of her life is a tapestry with many threads, each of which has the potential to resonate with someone who has been there.
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Format: Hardcover
You will laugh, cry, and smile as you travel with Molly PeacocK to "Paradise, Piece by Piece" -- chapter by chapter.
A courageous and compelling book. The book is so much more than a book about Ms. Peacock's decision to live childfree. It is an invitation to experience the processes of one's life. The honesty of her story, will surprise you -- the journey well worth the time.
A poet too. That -- you will see as the words chosen to tell her story are full of expression and emotion. Ms. Peacock addresses with such simplicity the emotions we all feel when challenging the expections of our society, family, and friends. You don't have to be "childfree by choice" to enjoy this book.
I picked up this book by "chance" -- the title was interesting, the cover eye catching -- you'll want to pick it up by choice.
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By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A memoir themed around deciding not to have children, opening with the statement "When I was three, I decided not to have children." An incredibly bad father, a mother who needed a life (and mothering), a sister who became an alcoholic -- you get the picture. When she tells the story, the book is fascinating; when she natters on with her thoughts on children, love and life, it is tiresome.
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