cover image How to Baby: A No-Advice-Given Guide to Motherhood, with Drawings

How to Baby: A No-Advice-Given Guide to Motherhood, with Drawings

Liana Finck. Dial, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-59596-1

New Yorker cartoonist Finck (Passing for Human) depicts her pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenthood in the form of a facetious guidebook with no definitive answers or advice but plenty of gentle snark. Spindly, abstracted female figures illustrate wry observations on such topics as the physical changes of pregnancy (“Is your bladder in on the sexist conspiracy that relegates women to the home?”), dealing with “In-Laws and Other Invaders” (“The walls of your home will dematerialize”), and figuring out baby products (“To my knowledge, there is no way to use a boppy pillow”). Finck’s illustrations sometimes expand into striking expressionism; a pregnant woman’s body is first depicted stuffed with random objects, then as a cage containing a baby, then as an enormous baby’s head. She touches lightly but acerbically on political issues surrounding childbirth and childcare, including the infuriating bureaucracy of the American healthcare system (pretending to be a patient on hold with insurance is “good practice for parenthood”), the uneven gendered division of labor, and the isolation new mothers face. Parents will find plenty here that’s both familiar and funny, and all of it presented with a refreshing lack of judgement. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, Gernert Co. (Apr.)