Saturday, May 9, 2015

After Birth

I've been itching to read this for months, but since it's new and since I prefer to buy my books used (or borrow them from the library), I had to wait quite a while. It's the first novel I've read since Baby Leopard was born, and it is everything I hoped for. Although I can't think of one person I know to whom I'd recommend it, it is my ideal book. It is raw and honest, irreverent and probing. (Let's just say, it's no holds barred when it comes to vocabulary and physical descriptions.) It's about female friendship and giving birth; it yearns for what has, at least for many women, been lost--communities into which babies are born, knowledge of childbearing passed down from women with experience, and a natural approach to every aspect of birth. It is attentive to the ways in which our bodies are integral to who we are. And it calls for women to be who they are, rather than conforming themselves to someone else's gaze.

A couple of quotes:

"What is it with women and chocolate? 
I don't know that it's a woman thing, per se, she says.
O-ho, the second-wave police are out. Heaven forbid it might be true that female bodies are different. Heaven forbid we admit that living in these female bodies is different. More terrible and more wonderful. Because what? We might lose the vote? Because we might get veiled, imprisoned? Best deny it, deny it, make it to the Oval Office, win, win, win."

"Baby's gettin' pretty big. Looks pretty well cooked. Don't want him getting much bigger. Lots can start to go wrong. We need to take this show on the road. You ready to meet your baby? 
I mean, listen. Historically I got that you had to own your body, that they'd take it from you and tell you not to trouble your pretty little head about it..."

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