Paradise, Piece by Piece

Molly Peacock, Author Riverhead Books $23.95 (337p) ISBN 978-1-57322-097-2
This witty, involving memoir by award-winning poet Peacock (Original Love) tells the story of her decision not to have children, a choice first contemplated at the age of three when her sister, Gail, was born. A native of upstate New York, Peacock recounts her coming of age and the quasi-maternal role she had to assume with her alcoholic father and flower-child sister while her spunky mother, Polly, shouldered the family's finances by buying and running a small store. Describing her education as a poet, Peacock interweaves epiphanies about motherhood into the details of her life, including a college roommate's abortion, her satisfaction as a public school writing teacher and her decade-long relationship with a domineering, if occasionally charming, Hungarian dance-troupe director with whom she became pregnant accidentally in her late 30s. Peacock had an abortion and a tubal ligation before her lover abandoned her, leaving her feeling bereft yet free to resume a liaison with her first boyfriend, now a Joyce scholar in Canada, whom she then married. Peacock, president emerita of the Poetry Society of America, writes vividly, sensitively, poetically, recreating her life as artist and woman. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-1-57322-730-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57322-103-0
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