A relatable, even-keeled, well-written account of the struggles and triumphs of infertility treatment.

A lesbian couple faces infertility in the midst of a historic moment in California's marriage-equality movement.

Some couples trying to conceive step into a sperm bank as a last resort. Poet Dumesnil (In Praise of Falling, 2009, etc.) and her partner started there, but her first pregnancy ended in a blighted ovum—or might have, as she shares an experience that led her to question her dismissive doctor's reading of the ultrasound. She had another miscarriage, then another, which, in the words of a bizarrely cheerful doctor, "w[on] [her] a ticket to endocrinology!” Though she expresses her sadness and worry, Dumesnil does not use her circumstances as an excuse to treat others badly. She complains about her HMO but appreciates that her endocrinologist did not “bat an eye at these lesbian wannabe mamas in his doorway." Her experience speaks to the loss of control many accomplished women feel when they try to get pregnant: "[E]very other time I've wanted something—like a graduate degree, or a job—all I had to do was work hard to get it…if pregnancy was a merit-based reward, I'd be so pregnant right now." After her miscarriages, Dumesnil decided not to make plans based solely on pregnancy, which led her to write about, and participate in, the same-sex marriages taking place at the San Francisco City Hall in 2004. Just days before getting married, the author found out she was pregnant. Hours after her televised wedding, she learned that an injunction had stopped the marriages, and she pushed past her anxiety and fatigue to march in protest. Dumesnil's ability to handle disappointment and setbacks with grace and humor, along with her engaging writing style, make this an engrossing read.

A relatable, even-keeled, well-written account of the struggles and triumphs of infertility treatment.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-19354396-3-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Ig Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Close Quickview