Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Book Review: Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley

I really enjoyed this graphic memoir. But I don't know who to recommend it to! Lucy and her husband wanted to have kids, and they got pregnant. But she lost the pregnancy. And then another. And before they became on of those tragedies you sometimes hear about with miscarriages in the double-digits, she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a condition that was causing her pregnancies to fail. She had to have a minor surgery, and it was corrected.

She became pregnant and did not miscarry! Although of course that was a worry for a long while. Instead she had deep, debilitating "morning" sickness. She couldn't keep anything down, couldn't sleep, could only barely function as a human for months and months. Eventually, towards the end of her pregnancy, that finally passed. And she was having some uncomfortable symptoms, like being really swollen, which she did tell her doctor. But he didn't put two and two together, and so after she had a healthy baby, she nearly died of preeclampsia. That was so unforgivable--she pretty much had every symptom, like a textbook case, and he ignored her complaints.

In the end, she has a happy healthy baby, but her road there was harrowing. It was life-threatening, and not a path many would choose to go down, if they knew what dragons lay in wait. But it was a fascinating memoir and as a graphic memoir, her changing body and the baby growing inside her, were skillfully rendered in a way that made them very real.

That said, I just don't know who this book is for? Someone who wants to have kids? Yikes! Someone pregnant? No way! Someone with little kids? Too soon. Someone who doesn't want to have kids? Well, why do they want to read about someone struggling to have them? Anyway, I fall into the last category and I did like it, but it's a tough story. You need to have a strong stomach and a strong heart to get through it. Like many memoirs with tragedy in them, be careful who you give this book to, but it's an important story nonetheless.

This book is published by First Second, a division of my employer, Macmillan.

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