As I’ve mentioned before, there is this wonderful new preemie memoir book, Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon, by Kelley and Tom French. I’m reading through it and enjoying it greatly. The prose is beautiful and breezy and makes me want to keep reading.
It’s impressive how much time the authors spend on parental backstory, which you wouldn’t think would work as the book is about a baby born at the edge of viability, but it does work very well. The process of getting married was long and arduous for Kelley and Tom — there’s Tom’s divorce, having two girlfriends and eventually moving in with one of them, moving out, wanting to get back together, and lots and lots couples counseling. The narrators alternate chapters with who gets to write, which you also wouldn’t think works, but it does. When Tom is writing about this time in his life with the two girlfriends, he talks about “ashes in his mouth” when he’s lying to one of them, which is a powerful image.
When natural conception doesn’t work for them, they go looking for an egg donor, and rather than go through the catalogs of young women offering their eggs, they go with Jennifer, a younger married friend of theirs, and Kelley develops quite a crush on her. She illustrates this unique relationship wonderfully — not quite a bisexual feeling, but sort of erotic in that they’re going to be sharing a pregnancy. But that’s what good writing is about — making the reader see things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
Next up is the actual pregnancy and preemie birth. We’ll see how that goes soon!