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Book Review: Before: Short Stories About Pregnancy from our Top Writers

Full disclosure: I only read a little over half of this book. After the story about the baby girl that inhales meconium and struggles for survival, I just couldn’t go on.

It isn’t often the I run across a book that I don’t like. I feel like I can find positive things about a lot of books (except for maybe a couple that I was forced to read in high school).

This book, however, is awful. Really, truly, awful.

I hate this book!

The first story was, by far, the best one. Two friends pregnant at the same time, enjoying their time together. Simple, nice. Of course one of the friends had a dead husband (in the past, not the current husband and baby’s father), but that was the only negative aspect of this story.

From there, things just get worse and worse! A story about a woman whose first baby died in his crib at five months old. At least she went on to have another baby several years later, so it did have a happy ending.

A story about a woman who gave birth to her own elderly mother. Not a dream.WTF?

A story about a woman who finds random body parts throughout her home, sews them together into a baby boy, then buries him in an unmarked grave in her backyard.

I am not making this stuff up!

What kind of twisted person would A) write this stuff and B) market it to pregnant women?!

I’m all for some whimsical, cerebral, even someone morose writing. I’ve read Miranda July, I can take some weirdness (I know, she’s really not even that weird, she’s just the first “off-beat” author I thought of). I just don’t feel like pregnancy needs a freakish spin while I am so heartily absorbed in it. I like happy stories about pregnancy while I’m experiencing pregnancy.

This is an awful, haunting book that I wish I had never picked up.

Please, do yourself a favor and never read it.

Next review: something much, much better than Before: Short Stories About Pregnancy from our Top Writers, edited by Emily Franklin and Heather Swain. (It will be Exploiting My Baby *Because It’s Exploiting Me by Teresa Strasser.)

2 responses »

  1. Wow, that sounds horrible!

    • And all the reviews on Amazon were so positive! Maybe if I wasn’t pregnant I would feel differently, I don’t know… It isn’t the book for me right now, that’s for sure!


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