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When British journalist, memoirist, and New York-transplant Emma Brockes decides to become pregnant, she quickly realises that, being single, 37, and in the early stages of a same-sex relationship, she’s going to have to be untraditional about it. From the moment she decides to stop “futzing” around, have her eggs counted, and “get cracking”; through multiple trials of IUI, which she is intrigued to learn can be purchased in bulk packages, just like Costco; to the births of her twins, which her girlfriend gamely documents with her iPhone and selfie-stick, Brockes is never any less than bluntly honest about her extraordinary journey to motherhood.
She quizzes her friends on the pros and cons of personally knowing one’s sperm donor, grapples with esoteric medical jargon and the existential brain-melt of flipping through donor catalogues and conjures with the politics of her Libertarian OB/GYN—all the while exploring the cultural circumstances and choices that have brought her to this point. Brockes writes with charming self-effacing humour about being a British woman undergoing fertility treatment in the US, poking fun at the starkly different attitude of Americans. Anxious that biological children might not be possible, she wonders, should she resent society for how it regards and treats women who try and fail to have children?
Brockes deftly uses her own story to examine how and why an increasing number of women are using fertility treatments in order to become parents—and are doing it solo. Bringing the reader every step of the way with mordant wit and remarkable candour, Brockes shares the frustrations, embarrassments, surprises, and, finally, joys of her momentous and excellent choice.
An Excellent Choice illuminates not one, but a whole host of still quasi-taboo topics from sperm donors to assisted reproduction. Brockes is a beautiful writer, a wonderful story-teller, and a keen observer of human nature.
I don't know whether to love Emma Brockes more as a writer or a human being. Why can't we all face life with her courage, grace, and shockingly good sense of humour?
A beautiful, wise book. It deals with the some of the grimmest aspects of human experience, but it is also one of the most genuinely up-lifting works I have read in years. Emma Brockes' superb, clear-eyed narration is an object lesson for any aspiring memoir-writer. She Left Me the Gun deserves to become a classic.
Brockes grabbed my heart - and, thanks to the grace of her buoyant wit and seriously generous humour, gave it back to me beautifully bruised. This is a story I'll never forget.
A beautifully written book which stirred a lot of memories about the death of my own mother and how I went searching for the truth about her after she died.
This astonishing, unsettling book examines the relationship between knowledge and love. Vigorously unsentimental, deeply absorbing, and written with fierce wit, it is an unstinting look at what it means to be innocent, at any stage of life, and how obsessively we all seek and avoid the many faces of truth.
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