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BABY OUT OF WEDLOCK

CO-PARENTING BASICS FROM PREGNANCY TO CUSTODY

Skillfully outlines how to prepare for and raise a child out of wedlock.

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A complete guide to having a baby without being married.

Jim and Jessica Braz begin their book with some eye-opening numbers: nearly 40% of all births in America take place with unmarried parents—1,500,000 children are born out of wedlock every day. Those parents will have lots of questions, and the authors answer many of them here. Some topics will be familiar to parents reviewing information on childbirth: miscarriages, C-sections, vaccinations, and sudden infant death syndrome. But given the book’s emphasis on co-parenting that happens without the benefit (social and legal) of a marriage contract, much of their book deals with varying concepts of cooperation, ways for two people who are not technically bound to each other to work together for the sake of their child. The authors have been through this personally (they are married now, but each has had a child out of wedlock) and know the intricacies of, for instance, dealing with lawyers, warning their readers, “some attorneys are more interested in increasing their billable hours than doing what’s best for you.” If the need arises, it’s the lawyers who’ll establish the limits of sole physical custody, joint physical custody, and the complications of legal custody in all its forms. Those and other concerns—everything from prenatal care to school issues—arise from all aspects of having a child out of wedlock, and the authors tackle all of those complications with warmth, sympathy, and a very approachable style. They suggest a variety of ways to avoid escalating arguments—and are also very clear about what to do when the situation can’t be saved, if, for instance, the mother isn’t taking care of her health during pregnancy: “If you are begging and pleading for your unborn child’s well-being and Mom still won’t listen to reason,” they write, “then at that point, we think you would need to consult your lawyer.” Readers dealing with these kinds of issues will find this book invaluable, particularly with regard to negotiation.

Skillfully outlines how to prepare for and raise a child out of wedlock.

Pub Date: May 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73-681680-6

Page Count: 204

Publisher: BOOW

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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