Brooklyn mother Sonia is less than thrilled to learn she is unexpectedly pregnant with her third child. After having put her artistic aspirations aside to raise her first two kids, she was looking forward to finally having time to herself, and the baby will only put everything on hold once again.
As her family demands more and more from her, and her humorously depicted pregnancy symptoms — including frequent flatulence and sensitivity to smell — escalate, she hits a breaking point. She worries that “there won’t be anything left of herself. She’ll be eaten alive.” So she decides to take a spontaneous road trip to retrace her life pre-motherhood, to find a taste of the freedom she gave up.
Along the way Sonia indulges in such forbidden pleasures as casual sex at a highway rest stop, smoking marijuana, and drinking beer. She revisits significant figures from her past life, including her former-rock-groupie best friend, the stoners she hung out with in high school, her arrogant art professor/former lover and her family-fixated sister. Through her trip she realizes there is not one absolute ideal path—there are downfalls to single life as well as to marriage and family.
Sonia never quite finds a way to balance her life. Nonetheless, her struggle to maintain a sense of self while also being a mother and a wife is realistic, darkly funny, and thoroughly engaging. This novel’s sardonic tone and comedic look at the physical agonies of pregnancy provide a needed flipside to books and mommy blogs that depict motherhood as solely a state of bliss and whimsy.
By Adrienne Urbanski
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