, , foreword by Anne Lamott. . HarperCollins, $24.95 (266pp) ISBN 978-0-06-073781-8
Inspired by a letter written to Salon.com requesting more stories about people who chose not to have children, senior editor Leibovich brought together a broad spectrum of writers to create a refreshing, sometimes painful, collection of essays in which, to quote the subtitle, "28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives." Lionel Shriver celebrates her adults-only existence in "The Baby Stops Here"; Amy Richards goes through the seldom-discussed procedure of "selective reduction" in "Triple Threat"; and Kathryn Harrison cares for her dying grandmother as well as her newborn daughter in the beautiful "Cradle to Grave." Other standout essays include Neal Pollack's, defending his right to have only one child (his response to the often-voiced concern "Won't he be spoiled if he's the only one?" is "Not with our credit card debt"), and Rick Moody's, revealing his early-in-life assessment of children as "bloodthirsty dwarves." This bittersweet anthology is the perfect antidote to readers tired of the number of books lauding child-rearing and its many joys.
Reviewed on: 01/23/2006