Comics I’ve Been Reading Lately

This year, I’ve really tried to jump into the world of comics in my own way. I had never really read comics before, but after trying Saga and Fables and loving one and not so much the other, I decided to continue trying more. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

Saga, Volume 5Saga, Volumes 2-5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Published by Image Comics

This series is truly a wild and crazy ride and I absolutely love it. There is interplanetary warfare, star-crossed lovers, all kinds of species living together in harmony and in the total opposite of harmony, tons of female badassery and a central plot that revolves around one family’s undying love and support for each other. I haven’t reviewed each individual volume because, to be honest, they all kind of run together in my head as one full story, but I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve spent inside this world and with these kick-ass characters.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 2:  Friendship to the MaxLumberjanes, Volumes 1 and 2 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen, and Maarta Laiho
Published by BOOM! Box

Lumberjanes is an adorable and quirky comic series about hardcore lady campers who constantly have major challenges to what is supposed to be a fun camping experience with friends. The first volume is a little bit crazier than the second, which delves a bit deeper into character development and has fewer hi-jinx, but both volumes were really fun to read. I loved how the characters are so very different, yet together they make this amazingly tight-knit group of friends who really care for each other. I loved that Stevenson sprinkles so much feminism throughout what the girls say and do. I had really high expectations for this comic in particular before I started it, so I am not sure I fell as much in love with it as I was hoping I would, but I really, really like it and will definitely continue the series.

Alex + Ada, Vol. 1Alex + Ada, Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughan
Published by Image Comics

This one REALLY hooked me. The basic premise is that Alex’s grandmother sends him an X5, the newest model of realistic androids, as a companion for him. Alex had no interest in this type of companion, and almost sends it, who he names Ada, back at one point, but decides against it. Then things get interesting. I seriously loved this comic and am so excited to see where it goes. The end was a pretty big cliffhanger and I’m really looking forward to reading the next volume. I think this will end up being an absolute favorite series of mine.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No NormalMs. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphoma
Published by Marvel

This comic is about an ordinary Muslim girl named Kamala living in Jersey City who discovers that she has a hidden superhero-like power and personality inside of her. I had really high hopes for this one, and I really liked it, but it wasn’t quite as incredible as I was expecting. I’m thinking I will need some time for the characters to develop before I really fall in love. But I did like it! I enjoyed how fast-paced things were once the superhero powers came to light, and I loved how the internal struggle Kamala had to deal with balancing her “normal” self with her new self was shown on the page. Also, who doesn’t want more diversity in books? I am sure young Muslim girls who don’t see a ton of people who look like them or share similar beliefs to their families’ beliefs will love seeing Kamala on these pages. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of this series.

You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

You Know Me WellYou Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Published by Text Publishing
Review copy provided by Netgalley

From the publisher:

You Know Me Well is a tender and joyful young-adult novel tracing the powerful friendship of two lovesick teenagers—a gay boy, Mark, and a lesbian girl, Katie—over the course of Pride Week in San Francisco. Told in alternating chapters, You Know Me Well explores how Mark and Katie help one another overcome heartbreak, fractured friendships and the dizzying speeds of change.

I’ll start with what I liked least about the book to get it out of the way. Mark and Kate meet at a gay bar, while Kate is hiding from this girl she really likes and Mark is dancing on the bar to impress this guy that he really likes, their eyes lock, they start talking, and instantly they were best friends. That part was not believable to me in the least – maybe it’s because I’m an old lady who needs to get to know a person before becoming BFF with them. But either way, their instafriendship reminded me of the instalove that is so annoying in books.

Other than that, I was really charmed by this adorable story of teenagers dealing with love, heartbreak and growing up. So often books that feature LGBTQ kids or adults are focused on the conflict that being gay causes in the persons’ life, or the internal struggle to come to terms with the characters’ sexuality, or a combination of the two, but this book wasn’t really like that. There is one character who is unwilling or unable to be honest with himself, his peers, and his family about the fact hat he is gay, and while that character is central to the story, for the most part Mark and Kate’s close friends are all gay and all completely happy, comfortable, well-adjusted and supported by their families. This was so refreshing to see and gave the book such a positive, happy vibe that I really enjoyed.

While I liked both Mark and Kate, I think I felt more compassion for and connection to Mark. His struggle of being in love with his best friend and not having that love returned to him was just heartbreaking. In the end, he handled the situation in such a mature and thoughtful way and I finished the book almost feeling proud of him. Yes, you can be proud of a fictional character. It’s a thing. I liked Kate too, but I thought her actions were a bit more selfish and a little flighty, to be honest. Part of that stemmed from her being scared of going after what she really wanted in life, but I wanted her to grow up and figure things out already. In the end, she sort of does, so I was happy with her character development throughout the novel.

Overall I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I think teens in particular would really like getting to know these characters, and gay teens might find a lot to appreciate about the way these authors wrote gay characters who are happy, healthy, and proud to be exactly who they are.

Dear Emma by Katie Heaney

Dear EmmaDear Emma by Katie Heaney
Published by Grand Central Publishing

From the publisher:

Harriet, the author of her college newspaper’s pseudonymous student advice column “Dear Emma,” is great at telling others what to do, dispensing wisdom for the lovelorn and lonely on her Midwestern campus. Somehow, though, she can’t take her own advice, especially after Keith, the guy she’s dating, blows her off completely. When Harriet discovers that Keith has started seeing the beautiful and intimidating Remy, she wants to hate her. But she can’t help warming to Remy, who soon writes to “Dear Emma” asking for romantic advice.

Now Harriet has the perfect opportunity to take revenge on the person who broke her heart. But as she begins to doubt her own motivations and presumably faultless guidance, she’s forced to question how much she really knows about love, friendship and well-meaning advice.

This book was so much fun! It was almost a one-sitting book for me, which almost never happens these days. And the ONLY reason I didn’t finish it in one sitting was because I had to stop reading to cook dinner and hang out with my husband. I promptly finished reading it the next morning, so a two-sitting book it ended up being. But still – a two-sitting book almost never happens lately, either!

I’m not going to lie and say that Dear Emma deals with subjects in any depth or is something to be taken seriously – it’s basically a few girls in college thinking and talking endlessly about their problems involving schoolwork and boys. BUT IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. I liked all of the characters, but truthfully the only character the reader really gets to know is Harriet, as the entire book is told from her first-person point of view. And so much of what happens is Harriet thinking over a situation to DEATH. But that’s what happens when life is: class, studying, watching TV, drinking, sleep, repeat. With a tiny bit of work thrown in there for some people. I think that Heaney captured the college experience, for most people, incredibly well and I think many college students will relate to the book. I also think many people who have been in college will relate to the book in a nostalgic manner.

Personally, I both related to the book and did not relate at all. I related because I also went to college in central Illinois (ISU, which is a school they refer to in the book several times) so location-wise the book felt extremely familiar to me. I didn’t relate because the characters in the book are all relatively privileged when it comes to their financial situations and I did not have that experience. When I was in college, I worked multiple jobs at once in order to pay tuition, housing, food, etc. – I simply didn’t have the parental support finance-wise that the girls in the book enjoy. I never really had the experience of waking up on a Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with nothing to do but watch TV all day because I had a job to go to most mornings if I wasn’t in class. But as I said – I enjoyed the book a lot! Just because my college experience was different from the one portrayed in the book doesn’t make it anything other than different.

Hmm, I’m realizing I don’t have a ton more to say about Dear Emma. Just that I liked it a lot, will definitely read more from this author, and it was fun. Did I mention I almost read it in one sitting? Oh yeah, I did. Anyway – fun book! Read it if you like this kind of thing.

Confess by Colleen Hoover

ConfessConfess by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books

From the publisher:

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

You know what, this was an enjoyable novel that was an extremely quick read. I loved Hoover’s Maybe Someday, so I was anxious to pick up another one of her novels, and Confess did not disappoint. It didn’t quite have the edge that Maybe Someday had, but this was still a fun read.

I liked Auburn and I liked Owen and they were great together, too. I do have to say that the whole “girl gets confidence because a guy tells her to be confident” thing is annoying, and I didn’t love that Auburn only felt that she could stand up for herself once Owen told her she should, but I’m choosing to pretend that is not the central theme of the book (it’s not. Well maybe it kind of is. Whatever. I liked it anyway, okay?!) The relationship with them was a bit of the instalove variety, but they shared so much about themselves in a short period of time that it wasn’t JUST a physical thing, which I appreciated.

I’m not going to pretend that important things in the novel weren’t wrapped up in unrealistic, tidy little bows, because they definitely were, but I liked it anyway. I think that what Hoover chose to do with her characters was slightly out of the norm and I was happy with how everyone’s stories ended up. Yes it was too pretty of an ending, but so what? I had fun reading it.

After just two of Hoover’s novels, I can see that she has a distinct style that I both love and could possibly get annoyed with very quickly. For that reason, I’m going to shy away from her books for a bit so that the annoyed part doesn’t happen. For contemporary YA bordering on new adult, I do really like her and would recommend picking up her books.

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don't You CryDon’t You Cry by Mary Kubica
Published by Mira
Review copy provided by NetGalley

From the publisher:

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

I hate hate hate to say this, but I did not love this book. I am not sure that my feelings for it even approach like. Here’s the thing: I was hoping for a thriller. An edge-of-your-seat, can’t-put-it-down, heart racing, thriller. That’s not really what this novel is. There is a LOT of build-up. A lot a lot a lot. To the point where it almost felt like nothing was happening until the very end when BOOM everything happens all at once. And perhaps because I was hoping for something else, I was disappointed by that.

There are two stories running throughout the book: Quinn’s and Alex’s. It’s obvious that they are connected in some way, but exactly how they are connected is unclear. I have to admit that while I thought I understood the connection from the start, I was very wrong, and I do have to give it to Kubica for that – she definitely surprised me.

I wasn’t a fan of Quinn. Her roommate was missing and it seemed like she still managed to make the entire situation all about her. How about make the situation about Esther? Instead, she kept looking for and finding clues that Esther either hated her, or was angry with her, or was disappointed with her, or was keeping secrets from her – she had the situation so revolved around herself it was just weird to me. And there was a non-romance situation with a guy who had a girlfriend, which just felt like it didn’t belong in the story in any way.

Alex I liked, but he was much more young and innocent, a “good person” in an obvious way, so it’s no wonder I liked him. I understood why he was intrigued by Pearl and hopeful to get to know her better, but it was obvious from the beginning that the whole situation was bad news and he probably should have just run like hell in the other direction. I also think that his back story could have been explored a bit more in-depth, but I suppose he wasn’t exactly the point of the book.

I’m sad to say I didn’t enjoy Don’t You Cry too much. Obviously I finished it, so there’s something, but truthfully it felt way too slow for almost the entire book, just to hit me over the head with a huge revelation at the end. Not exactly what I was hoping for when I decided to read a thriller. I have enjoyed one of Kubica’s novels in the past, though, so I’m certainly not giving up on her!

What I’ve Been Cooking Lately – week 3

So. I didn’t have AS successful of a cooking week as I would have liked, but I did make a few things. I ate leftovers or stuff I quickly threw together three times this week – including one night where I made my tried and true standby of all-veggies-in-the-fridge-go-into-fried-rice (which you’ll learn happens about once a week, sometimes more if I’m running low on ideas and time). I also ate at restaurants twice this week, once with friends and once with the hubby.

BUT. I did make some stuff. First, I made another pizza with fried egg on top, but this time I used basil pesto as the base instead of traditional pizza sauce. I LOVE pesto and can find reasons to substitute it for all kinds of things, but as pizza sauce is probably my absolute favorite – followed closely by in pasta, with a touch of cream. YUM. Anyway, the pizza was delicious and I highly recommend pesto on pizza if you haven’t done it already. And egg! Egg on pizza is amazing, too, but I think I’ve preached that already.

I cooked another meal that was cooking TWO new recipes in one night. Friends, that never happens. Just one new recipe is usually enough to stress me out. But these two both sounded super quick and easy, and the flavors were so similar I thought they’d really pair well together. I made baked lemon butter tilapia from Damn Delicious, with lemon butter green beans from Budget Bytes on the side. I was right – the combination of these two recipes was great and the meal couldn’t have been easier to put together. I also have to say, of all the cooking/recipe blogs I follow, these two are by far my favorites. Every recipe I’ve made from either one of them has turned out great and not one I’ve tried has been too complicated to make on a weeknight. I highly recommend both sites and both of these recipes.

Also, I have to tell you guys that earlier this year I got a rice cooker and it has changed my life. I always loved eating rice but hated cooking it. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I had trouble getting the right proportion of rice to water to cooking time, and sometimes my rice would turn out perfect and other times it would be either a soggy mess or dry and crunchy. I never have this problem now because my rice cooker does everything for me and it really has made it possible for me to have rice anytime I want. Now you know why I make fried rice once or twice a week – I always have cold leftover rice in my fridge!😉

Sister by A. Manette Ansay

SisterSister by A. Manette Ansay
Published by Harper Perennial

From the publisher:

Abigail Schiller lives a seemingly normal childhood in a rural Catholic community in Wisconsin. But that life is shattered when her younger brother, Sam, vanishes at the age of seventeen, fleeing their father’s rigid rules of masculinity and the violence their mother denies. Finally, thirty years old and expecting a child of her own, Abby is determined to retrace her lost sibling’s dark descent–embarking upon an emotional journey that will test the strength of her spirit, and contradict everything, she once believed about her family and herself.

A stunning work of rare poignancy and unsettling power, A. Manette Ansay’s Sister marks the literary maturation of a truly exceptional voice in contemporary American fiction. Deftly spinning triumph out of tragedy, the award-winning author of Vinegar Hill offers us a fresh understanding, of family, memory, faith. Abigail Schiller lives in a seemingly normal childhood in a rural Catholic community in Wisconsin. But that life is shattered when her younger brother, Sam, vanishes at the age of seventeen, fleeing their father’s rigid rules of masculinity and the violence their mother denies. Finally, thirty years old and expecting a child of her own, Abby is determined to retrace her lost sibling’s dark descent–embarking upon an emotional journey that will test the strength of her spirit, and contradict everything she once believed her family and herself.

I’ve had this book on my TBR shelves forever. During the heyday of Oprah’s Book Club, I read and loved Ansay’s Vinegar Hill (about which I remember nothing), so I grabbed this one at a used book store years ago hoping to one day pick it up. I think this is the kind of novel I have to be in a particular mood for: quiet family drama where there is a big thing in the background, but generally speaking not much happens. The best thing I can say about this novel is that the writing was good and I halfheartedly cared about the characters. Is that bad? It was just okay.

One thing that bothered me immensely about the book is that Abigail’s father is extremely abusive and that abuse is never discussed or dealt with in any real way. As this is the second book in a row I’ve read with a similar abusive family situation that is not addressed, it particularly bothered me. He’s verbally, emotionally, sexually and mildly physically abusive. It was all kinds of terrible, and yet Abigail never once addresses it with either of her parents. It was difficult to read about, especially because it was clear that Abigail and Sam were truly damaged by the abuse they suffered and unable to voice their anger about it.

The ending was generally what I was expecting, so it wasn’t disappointing exactly, just not shocking at all. It was … boring? I guess is the best way to put it.

I was hoping for more from Sister. I certainly didn’t hate the novel but it was just okay.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

All the Birds in the SkyAll the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Published by Tor Books

From the publisher:

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

There were things I liked about this book and things I disliked, but overall I have to say that I was not wowed by All the Birds in the Sky.

In short, I liked the beginning of the book and the end but not so much the middle. The beginning is set during Patricia’s and Laurence’s childhoods, and it reads almost like a YA book. Like a really dark and sad YA book, I guess, as there is abuse, bullying, and a general feeling of darkness that runs alongside the story. There were certainly moments of fun and humor, but neither of the two really had great childhoods, and Anders doesn’t shy away from showing the reader just now not great things were for them. I liked the two of them as kids – they were both awkward, shy, basically two nerds who really connected with each other. Something that bothered me about the beginning, even though I generally liked it, was that the abusive and destructive behavior of several characters was never discussed in-depth or dealt with in any way. There were some scary things that happened to these characters, stuff that was pretty much ignored and never talked about again. It did not ring true for me at all.

The transition in the book from their childhoods to adulthood felt shaky and really took me out of the story. And once we got into adulthood, I almost put the book down several times. It felt to me like it wasn’t going anywhere, like it was rambly and not much was happening and I was just, frankly, bored by it. But there was one point where THINGS start happening, and I drew back into it, and I did really like the last third of the book.

The end of the book really shows the world falling apart, and it was scary but I loved how Anders described the slow unraveling of everything we know to be necessary in modern life. That part reminded me a little bit of Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven. I liked the clashing of science and magic, and I liked how Patricia’s magic wasn’t this huge fantastical thing, but rather a minor element of her personality that came in handy sometimes and in some major ways. There’s also a particular element of the book, it’s a minor plot point but quite a spoiler, that I absolutely loved. One of those connection things that you go “ah!” as you read it.

So overall – not my favorite book, but I did enjoy parts of it. I’m glad I read All the Birds in the Sky and would still consider reading something else written by this author.

What I’ve been cooking lately – week 2

So this week wasn’t as successful at cooking new recipes as last, but I did make a couple of things that I wanted to share.

Sunday I made my favorite easy pasta sauce. It literally has three ingredients and tastes amazing. Apparently it’s originally from Marcella Hazan, but here’s the adapted version from Smitten Kitchen. I guess it’s a relatively famous recipe but I only learned about it last year. I served it over cheese tortellini for an easy and delicious dinner.

Monday I took some of that leftover sauce and used it as the base for a homemade pizza. Don’t get too excited – I didn’t make the crust or anything fancy. I used a Boboli pizza crust, the leftover sauce, and some cheese. BUT I did use this breakfast pizza from Budget Bytes as an inspiration to add a fried egg on my pizza. I actually do this a lot, when I’m looking for something “extra” on my pizza that’s not meat, and it’s always phenomenally delicious.

Tuesday I took some veggies I had on hand and chicken from a roast chicken my mother-in-law had eaten a few days prior and made a stir-fry. Wednesday I think I made a quick sandwich or salad, my husband worked late that night so we didn’t have dinner together.

Thursday I gathered all the veggies that needed to be eaten – broccoli, snap peas, a quarter of an onion, some green onion, carrots, and eggs – and made vegetable fried rice. This is one of my favorite things to make because you can’t really screw it up. If you’ve never made fried rice before here is a really good tutorial from Steamy Kitchen, but once you get the hang of it, fried rice is incredibly easy and always delicious.

Friday I went out with coworkers for really great Mexican food at this new place that just opened up near my work, Don Julio’s. I had a blue crab quesadilla – so so yummy! It was a great time with my work family.

Last night (Saturday) we went out to one of our favorite local restaurants, Colorado Fondue Company, and as always when we go there I was SO FREAKING FULL when we left. But man it was fantastic.

So that was my week! What have you been cooking this week?

 

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids edited by Meghan Daum

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have KidsSelfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids edited by Meghan Daum
Published by Picador

From the publisher:

One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed “fertility crisis,” and whether modern women could figure out a way to way to have it all–a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children–before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it’s necessary to have it all or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.

In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, sixteen acclaimed writers explain why they have chosen to eschew parenthood. Contributors Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christiensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, offer a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed makes a thoughtful and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path in life, taking our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. What emerges is a more nuanced, diverse view of what it means to live a full, satisfying life.

Before I talk about my thoughts on this essay collection, allow me to list the contributors: Kate Christensen, Tim Kreider, Paul Lisicky, M.G. Lord, Rosemary Mahoney, Sigrid Nunez, Jeanne Safer, Lionel Shriver, Geoff Dyer, Danielle Henderson, Courtney Hodell, Anna Holmes, Elliott Holt, Pam Houston, Michelle Huneven, and Laura Kipnis. I wanted to list them all because there are some big names here, and besides the fact that I was personally interested in the subject matter of these essays, I was really excited to read more from some authors I already loved.

If you know me well, you know that I am 99% sure that I don’t want children. My husband is 100% sure that he does not. The reason for my extra 1% is that I am thirty-two and well aware that there is a tiny possibility that I could change my mind. I HIGHLY doubt that, but I never want to say never. I hate hate hate that in my life, I constantly have to defend this choice. To friends, relatives, but most annoyingly – to strangers. I constantly get upset and sometimes angry that people have the audacity to ask me, on a regular basis, “why don’t you want kids?”, always accompanied with a look of disdain and judgment. As if I would go up to a pregnant person or a parent and say, “why do you want kids?” with that same terrible judgy face. I would never. That’s simply not appropriate, not something you do. Ever. But why people think they can do the opposite to me is infuriating, to be honest. I’m over it and I’m over having to answer for myself, to defend my choice, as though it’s a choice that even needs defending. Can you see I’m passionate about this topic? Anyway. That is the reason that I chose to read this book.

So I really enjoyed and appreciated all of the essays in this collection. Some I liked better than others, of course, but overall the quality of writing was top-notch and I loved learning each author’s personal story about why he/she chose to not become a parent. I read another review of the book that criticized the fact that several of the authors initially wanted children but sort of “fell into” not having any, which the review argued made the fact that they were childless not really their choice, but I disagree. At the end of the day, there are a lot of ways to become a parent, and if someone really wants a child, even after years of “falling into” childlessness, there is adoption, surrogacy, all kinds of options. If you end up not becoming a parent, I believe there was a choice made somewhere down the line to not become a parent.

My favorite essays dealt with the larger issues around not becoming a parent in today’s society, some of the stuff I said above was a common theme, and I connected to those essays more than some of the ones that were more focused on the author’s personal story. Danielle Henderson’s was my favorite, but there were several others that I deeply connected with.

I very highly recommend this book, not just to people who don’t want to become parents. If you have a family member or friend who has chosen not to be a parent and you feel perplexed by that decision, or judgy about it (it’s okay, I get it, we all judge), this would be an excellent choice. Not everyone who doesn’t have kids came to that decision for the same reasons, but this essay collection gives a nice variety on what those reasons might be. I loved it.

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