Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE by Mary F. Pols

ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE

A One-Night Stand, My Unplanned Parenthood, and Loving the Best Mistake I Ever Made

By Mary F. Pols

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-125692-9
Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Bay Area film critic Pols chronicles her unexpected pregnancy and journey into not-quite-single motherhood.

On the brink of her 40th birthday, the surprised author discovered that she was pregnant. Knowing that her fertile years were approaching an end, she decided to have the baby even if it meant doing it alone. Decision made, the next step was to contact Matt, the 29-year-old father-to-be. He was a good one-night stand, but Pols figured he would freak out when she told him the news. On the contrary, he was immediately supportive. “Everyone wants a child,” he insisted, and so this unlikely couple embarked on a journey to unconventional parenthood. (Matt stayed involved, but they did not resume their relationship.) The author is droll and exceedingly honest about bouts of morning sickness, her search for bigger, baby-friendly digs and her son’s birth, which is described in graphic detail. She airs perfectly legitimate annoyances with her co-parent, as well as her eventual coming to terms with his character. Matt may have had trouble being a responsible adult—at the time of their fling he lived in a hovel and had no job—but he proved to be a sensitive, caring father. Pols’s habit of recounting past love affairs quickly becomes tedious, though at least she keeps sentimentality at bay. Emotions do surface at times, but raw expression of feeling seems appropriate when describing her deep grief over the loss of her parents, which coincided with her foray into motherhood. Glimpses of her professional life enliven the text, and it’s too bad there aren’t more of them: Her accounts of trying to write Marlon Brando’s obituary on a day off without childcare and of a failed attempt to breastfeed during a screening of De-Lovely are far more interesting than her frequent assessments of Matt’s self-esteem.

A page-turner by someone who stopped waiting for Mr. Perfect.