EXPECTING by Christine Lehner


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This journal of a first pregnancy--as kept by a woman named ""C""--does cover the expected array of moods and reactions: nausea; sensitivity; the baby's first kicks; the body's hyper-awareness; the natural maternal fears; fantasies (C thinks of the baby as ""Baby Milo,"" a girl); the impatience . . . which turns to greater, fearful impatience when the baby is overdue. And there are some flickers of personality in C's whimsical yet supportive husband, ""J""--and in C's grandmother, who has a startling end-of-life romance with a man who takes her along on a cozy trip to a quiet Caribbean island. But, for the most part, it's difficult to become involved in this pregnancy-diary. The fey, initial-named characters remain distant. Much of the material is more literary than lifelike: C's dreams (which are interspersed) are far too shapely and interpret-able to be credible; there's an all-too-neat parallel to the expected new life in a new death--the suicide of C's friend. And the prose, whose sentences become shorter throughout and ever more sensitively vague, is fatally precious: ""The fruits I put in the refrigerator do not ripen. Their skins pucker and inside they are still hard. I seek out the cheese and that is sweating, like me. We repel each other like magnets. I do not sit with my mother beside the empty swimming pool."" Even for those eager to share the pregnancy experience--a slight, often pretentious evocation.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: New Directions