Dating Big Bird

Laura Zigman, Author
Laura Zigman, Author Dial Press $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-33340-5
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-385-33341-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2357-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-9950-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57511-068-4
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-307-82827-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-04541-5
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-09-928034-7
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In her bestselling first book, Animal Husbandry, Zigman took a wry look at the mating rituals of young urbanites. Here she uses the same ironic tone to address the rituals of reproduction and one woman's anxiety about deciding whether to become a parent. At 35, Ellen Franck is bored with her glamorous job as marketing director for a fashion designer; she wants to have a baby. But her boyfriend, Malcolm, has made it clear that he doesn't want to be the father. An older, once-celebrated author who now teaches more than he writes, Malcolm takes Prozac to combat the depression he's wrestled with since Ben, his son from his first marriage, died of leukemia at age seven. Ellen cares for Malcolm despite his emotional remoteness and diminished sex drive (a side effect of the antidepressants), but her one true love is her three-year-old niece, Nicole, aka the Pickle. With Malcolm unlikely to change his mind, Ellen is forced to examine her insemination options, at one point kicking around the idea of co-parenting a child with Big Bird: ""Big Bird would be the ideal parent. He's warm. He's affectionate. He's had a stable job for as long as I can remember."" Will Ellen and her new best friend, Amy, who shares her ""Pregnancy Fantasy Disorder,"" opt for artificial insemination and single motherhood? Settle for partners who'd make good fathers but less than satisfying husbands? Kidnap their nieces? Zigman's funny, conversational style draws the reader into Ellen's quest. Although the excessively happy ending is too pat to fit in with the wry tone of the rest of the book, the absorbing train of events and amusing dialogue make this a lark of a read. (Apr.)
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