An Excellent Choice

Emma Brockes
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ISBN 9780571327461 Format Hardback
Published 05/07/2018 Length 320 pages

About Book

I mumble ‘I need to order some sperm’. The receptionist puts me through to a technician to see if what I want is available. ‘Number?’ says the man. I give him the reference for my sperm donor. There is a clacking of keys, followed by a short pause. Then with the smoothness of a sommelier fielding a wine order at dinner, he says ‘An excellent choice’.

Emma Brockes is thirty-seven, lives alone, and wants children. She is in a relationship (good!) but they aren’t doing the parenting together (weird!). Her partner, L, has her own child. Emma needs sperm, a doctor, and not to bankrupt herself before any child arrives. And that’s just the beginning - there are a million choices to make when you are taking the untraditional route to motherhood.

Is she ready to be a single mother? Is there a way of talking about any of this honestly without being too defensive or too jolly? Should the sperm donor be a writer like her, or someone with completely different talents (something equally interesting, just not too interesting ie. a mime artist)? Are high-waisted postnatal support pants essential or optional? What will her baby be to L? Will they be parallel parenting? Proximal parenting? Parenting in each other’s general direction?

Brockes navigates these decisions against a background of uninvited opinion, scolding, and the general hysteria that always accompanies a woman’s decision to have (or not have) children. With generous heart and humour, An Excellent Choice examines essential questions about motherhood and the modern family – and asks how and why so many women are choosing to solo parent.

  • About Emma Brockes

    Emma Brockes writes for the Guardian Weekend magazine and contributes to the New York Times, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Elle, She is the winner of two British Press Awards (Young Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer Of the Year) and while at Oxford she won the Philip Geddes Memorial Prize for Journalism.She is the author of one previous book - What Would Barbra Do? - about her love of musicals. She lives in New York.

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