A too self-indulgent memoir in which the writer shows how the birth of a daughter changed her life and her relationship with her own long-dead mother.
June, a staff writer for New York magazine who frequently writes on issues related to parenting, tells the story of her own experiences as a parent, beginning with the decision at age 35, to have a baby. She shares with the reader details of the pregnancy, the Caesarian delivery, the emotional roller coaster of early parenthood, the loneliness of the new mother. She is clearly fascinated by her own life as a mother and with her developing daughter, Zelda, and she is an especially aware mother. What makes this account different from “let-me-tell-you-what-an-amazing child-I have” baby books is the revelations about June’s mother, an alcoholic, whose alcoholism early on became the defining factor of June’s life. Her mother’s disease became the author’s secret and introduced her to a life of secrets and lies. Her look back at her growing-up years with an alcoholic mother, which makes up a significant portion of the book, is straightforward and has the ring of accuracy. Becoming a mother changed June’s life in more ways than first-time motherhood inevitably does. It opened her up to a social world she had not known, and it allowed her to form family connections she had not had before. New mothers, especially stay-at-home ones, may be enthralled by this story and find that a private life made public is just the thing to brighten and lighten their own suddenly restricted lives. Less engaged readers may see this memoir as a trip not worth taking.
If nonfiction can be considered chick lit, this one deserves the label.