Friday, May 22, 2009

Books Without Which

Here is a list of books without which I would have had to imagine up my own anxieties throughout my pregnancy. Thankfully, however, these works came with their own inspiration.
  • The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff: Willie Upton returns to her hometown "in disgrace", and what happens in her pregnancy is a plot hinge I'll not here reveal, but you should read the book to find out why I thought I was crazy.
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: We wanted to find out our child's gender, but nobody would tell us. So ever since I've been convinced that it doesn't have one. Time will tell.
  • Like Mother by Jenny Diski: A baby without a brain! It can happen! It happened to Diski's Frances, but she was horrid, but then sometimes I am too.
  • The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing: The Lovett's fifth child is a monster who destroys the family, not to mention kicks the crap out of poor Harriet's womb. The perils of banking too much on domesticity and cozy kitchen tables.
  • Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins: The pregnancy goes just fine, and baby Arlo is a dream, but the whole experience brings Ann's repressed demons back to the surface. I don't actually have repressed demons, but what if they're just really repressed?
  • Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. Speaking of demons. Because how can you be sure your baby is not the spawn of Satan? And I mean really sure.
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Was it nature or was it nurture? Regardless, somewhere along the line Eva went wrong, and brung herself up a high school killer. And it could happen to you (ie me).
  • The Baby Project by Sara Ellis. I actually read this book twenty years ago, but skimmed through it recently in a book store because I thought it might be cute. No. SIDS, oh my, and then I started to cry. So the anxiety isn't going to stop with the birth, it seems. No bumpers on the crib for Baby!
  • The Girls by Lori Lansens. I didn't read this while I was pregnant, so didn't notice the potential trauma of the birth scene, but then I gave it to a friend who was pregnant, and let's just say she was plenty relieved to see just one head and four limbs at her first ultrasound.
  • Consequences by Penelope Lively. If I read a lot of 19th century literature, surely I'd see even more mothers dying in childbirth. Which is one reason I'm really glad that I don't read a lot of 19th century literature.