rating: 4 of 5 stars
McCracken re-lives her pregnancy and stillborn birth of her first child and the pregnancy and birth of her second. It is elegantly and beautifully written, even if the subject matter is heartbreaking at times. It is an amazingly self-aware memoir--she describes her feelings as best as she can remember, trying not to color her memories with hindsight; and then she tries to explain why she felt that way. I always find people who write memoirs brave, for while they document their struggles and lives for the world, they open themselves up for judgement, as the rest of the world tries to figure out what you did wrong so that they can avoid the same fate. McCracken does a lot of her own soul-searching as to what went wrong, and your heart aches for her. It ends on a hopeful note as she holds her newborn in her arms--"It is a happy life and someone is missing. It is a happy life--"
Obviously I would not recommend it to any of you about to have a baby, or are planning on having one in the next year. But for anyone else, I would say it is more of a tribute to life, and the blessings of being with child.
On another level, I love how memoirs reveal how our lives are as wrought with symbolism and absurdities as the most clever novels. The day McCracken scatters her babies ashes, and a week before she finds out she is pregnant again, she and her husband see a stag, and then turn around to find a whole herd of stags. (If I'm not mistaken, seeing a stag in the wild is supposed to bring good luck). And then they name their first child Pudding which is the most right, most precious name they could have given him--but one in which you usually only find in novels. Then there is the story of her friend, the telephone psychic, who used to be a telephone call girl, but all the women who worked together had their cycles sync up and had to quit the business--that actually happens in real life?
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