DISPATCHES FROM A NOT-SO-PERFECT LIFE: Or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child

Faulkner Fox, Author . Harmony $23 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4939-4

Fox, a happily married 30-something, has degrees from Yale, Harvard and Vermont College; is the mother of two healthy young boys; writes poetry; and lives in a nice house in a decent-sized Texan city with a fair amount of culture. Before she became a part-time working mother, she had a challenging and stimulating job as director of the National Abortion Rights Action League of North Carolina. Yet despite such success, Fox is unhappy. She doesn't have close female friends who are also mothers with whom she can have intelligent conversations. She's torn between having a home birth (which "takes a lot of self-confidence, a lot of body confidence") and going to the hospital, "a male-dominated medical establishment" ("Pain relief or control strikes me as a real bummer of a choice to offer women," she laments). She's also peeved that she does more work around the house than her husband, a professor at the local university. At the heart of many of Fox's plights lie the issues of power and control, questions many women in her situation grapple with. Certainly, Fox's frustrations—which she relays in conversational, almost spontaneous prose—are sure to hit home with women who are trying to "live as mothers and individuals at the same time." But readers who've decided to make mothering their full-time job could feel slighted by Fox's treatment; she feels they're at the "bottom" of the "totem pole of power." Consequently, Fox's alternately funny, engaging and repetitive memoir may have a limited appeal. Agent, Christy Fletcher. (Jan. 5)

Forecast: Fox will go on a driving tour of North Carolina, where she now lives, which should stir up interest in her book. She's done poetry readings for a few years and could parlay that experience into successful book readings.

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003
Open Ebook - 135 pages - 978-0-307-42058-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-4000-4940-0
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