Little Earthquakes: book review

July 29, 2006

Editor’s Note: I loved this book! Thanks for the reminder, Shenanigans. -Elisa

I came across the novel Little Earthquakes, by Jennifer Weiner, from an enthusiastic description at Chinaberry, a children’s bookseller that also has a selection of books for literature for mom. It’s the story of four women who meet in a prenatal yoga class, their pregnancies, births, and first year as moms, adjusting from the old life to the new.
It’s beautifully written, and funny, and fairly true to life – with details that non-moms may not appreciate, but it’s exactly the novel I needed and never found when my daughter was tiny and I was wondering how exactly this whole motherhood thing could possibly work out. In many ways, it reminds me of a nonfiction book trying to explain the issues of middle and upper class moms, but the use of fiction is probably more effective, as you can really get into a character’s head and feel and explore her situation and how she reacts. She covers a fairly broad swath – easy births, early births, drawn-out-let’s-go-to-C-section births… financial problems, wealth, straying husbands, pesky relatives, babies that won’t stop crying, difficult bosses, and for one woman, tragedy.

The four women come together in a way that makes each one stronger: each needs help; each gives help.

Ten minutes later, Lia was sitting at her table, still looking as if she might bolt, and Becky was sitting in the rocking chair she’d installed in the corner of the kitchen. Ava, it turned out, had been hungry after all, and she was nursing contentedly while whapping at the side of Becky’s breast with one tiny fist and looking like an angry old man who was now trying to get his change back from a broken vending machine. Twix bar! Twix bar! Goddammit, I wanted a Twix bar! Becky smiled, burped the baby, and set her into her Moses basket on the kitchen table. “Scrambled eggs. I’m going to make scrambled eggs,” she said, before Lia could answer.

This is a wonderful novel for new moms especially, and I heartily recommend it. I’d love to find more novels in this genre – any suggestions?