A useful aggregation of timely information and personal insight that will provide clarity, if not comfort, for single women...

IN HER OWN SWEET TIME

UNEXPECTED ADVENTURES IN FINDING LOVE, COMMITMENT, AND MOTHERHOOD

The executive editor of Plum, a magazine for pregnant women over 35, considers the myriad choices available to women who want children but haven’t found Mr. Right.

Lehmann-Haupt’s first book is a personal documentary; she presents statistics, interviews and analysis alongside her own story. She began research on the reproductive options for single women when she was 32, after a relationship she thought would lead to marriage and children ended. The book follows her through a six-year journey: fertility tests, online dating escapades, a serious relationship with a guy who couldn’t commit, sperm-donor shopping and finally oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) at the NYU Fertility Clinic. She interviewed mothers who were single by choice, the Italian doctors who invented the egg-freezing procedure, marketing executives from the company Extend Fertility, gay “bio dads” who donate sperm and “insta-couples” who decide to get pregnant within a year of meeting and aren’t embarrassed by a baby bump under a wedding gown. Most of the stories are positive, but Lehmann-Haupt doesn’t try to sell happy endings. Many of the procedures, including in vitro fertilization, embryo freezing and intrauterine insemination, are so physically, emotionally and financially draining that one single woman’s doctor asked her why she didn’t just have unprotected sex with a friend. The author actively reflects on important questions brought on by this modern reproductive landscape: How old is too old? Would she want her child to meet his half sisters on DonorSiblingRegistry.com? Does the ability to biologically postpone childbearing give career women rightful peace of mind or will it prevent society from “adapting to the needs of working mothers?” Adoption is addressed only briefly; this is a book for women who are mainly interested in passing on their genetic material (or their future husbands’) and in the experience of being pregnant.

A useful aggregation of timely information and personal insight that will provide clarity, if not comfort, for single women over 30 still set on having kids.

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-465-00919-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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