cover image Look How Happy I’m Making You

Look How Happy I’m Making You

Polly Rosenwaike. Doubleday, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-54403-0

The 12 stories in Rosenwaike’s striking debut collection portray women of childbearing age confronting the challenges of becoming, or not becoming, a mother. In “Grow Your Eyelashes,” a web developer admires a baby on a bus while recalling her own fruitless efforts to get pregnant. Freelance editor Cora, of “Period, Ellipsis, Full Stop,” has a miscarriage. In incisive language, Rosenwaike evokes the baby’s miniature hands and swollen cheeks; the cavernous, windowless institute where Leah works; and Cora writing pleasant work emails despite her throbbing uterus. Longing and anxiety pervade “White Carnations” as four motherless, childless friends celebrate Mother’s Day together, and “June,” in which an expectant mother feels torn between her unborn daughter and dying aunt. Self-aware humor helps baby Alice’s parents through her first Christmas/Hanukkah gathering in “Welcome to Your Family” and a wakeful infant’s parents through the night in “Parental Fade.” The road to parenthood is paved with denial in “The Dissembler’s Guide to Pregnancy,” resistance in “Ten Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression,” and overwhelming affection in “Love Bug, Sweetie Dear, Pumpkin Pie, Etc.” Rosenwaike’s edgy stories are endearingly honest, excruciatingly detailed, and irresistibly intimate, expertly depicting what motherhood means to millennials. (Mar.)