Thursday, March 27, 2008

Babies & Broads

Not exactly weekly but nonetheless, trying to maintain some consistency in posting.

On a recent trip to Barcelona, I decided to give a book my brother-in-law recommended as “light & a quick read”. It was both of those things – I read it all on the leg from Munich to Toronto. an Innocent, a Broad is a memoire written by Ann Leary. Ann Leary is married to Denis Leary…who I absolutely love. I thought, if you can be married to him, you must have an interesting take on life.

an Innocent, a Broad is a memoire about a specific moment in time: the birth of their first child Jack. Jack’s birth (like so many) is not the fairy tale that you see in movies or hear from mothers’ groups (“Oh…I was in labour for 2 hours and didn’t need an epidural….and it was a beautiful moving experience….yeah right, whatever), or read in magazines. Written about a time prior to her husband “becoming” Denis Leary, Ann Leary takes you through every pregnant woman/mother’s worst nightmare: she goes into labour prematurely in a foreign country. Mind you the foreign country is England, where they speak English, which is a plus, but has a different view on childbirth and medical care.

So there you are: what started as a 2 week vacation turns into a stint in a hospital, thousands of miles from home, in labour, when you’re not supposed to be in labour and you are told you are going to be in hospital until you give birth.

With an endearing though sometimes annoying recounting of a stereotypical American ignorance of anything non American, Leary’s style is easy to read, like hearing a girlfriend recount a story over numerous cups of coffees. She goes through things and asks questions that you wouldn’t read about in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. She articulates exactly what every pregnant woman goes through about how they look and feel about themselves. She eloquently captures every single fear that any of us who have gone through a pregnancy, has about giving birth and then lives through the fears to come out on the other side. She does it almost exclusively by herself and emerges and unintentional “woman/mother power story.”

Although I enjoyed this book (Jack as it happens is now a perfectly healthy teenager and quite proud of his birth story), it didn’t quite break my streak of mediocrity. That being said, I am reading something right now, about half-way through that is knocking my socks off. But I thought that about Wicked too…so I’m going to reserve judgment for a bit.

an Innocent, a Broad
Ann Leary
Harper Collins