cover image Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness

Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness

Melanie Notkin. Seal (PGW, dist.), $24 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58005-521-5

Notkin (Savvy Auntie) coined the term "otherhood" to describe "our misunderstood group of women doing our best to live full and meaningful lives despite the frustrations of some of our most cherished longings": love, marriage, and children. She notes that "the rise of childless women may be one of the most overlooked and underappreciated social issues of our time." As a high-powered, attractive New Yorker who, along with many female friends, achieved success through talent, hard work, and perseverance, she sets out to answer how she and girlfriends in their mid-30s and older are, despite efforts and expectations, still single and why they are "scrutinized so unsympathetically, harassed for sticking by our convictions and invalidated as just plain less than everyone else." Part sociological study, part memoir, the book explores issues including men's reluctance to plan a date, commit, or marry women their own age; egg-freezing trends; the joys and agonies of relationships with others' children; modern matchmakers; and Notkin's own resolution as she enters "the other side of [her] fertility." Heartfelt and frank, the book may be a comfort to other unintentionally single, childless women and a disturbing revelation to their friends, families, and colleagues, although the affluent Manhattan-centricity of the author's cohort may alienate less-privileged readers. (Mar.)