cover image The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine and Motherhood

The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine and Motherhood

Belle Boggs. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-55597-749-8

Boggs’s essays about “Plan B family making,” which chronicle her experiences with her spouse, doctors, and peers while dealing with infertility, touch on universal themes of hope, loss, and identity. Boggs (Mattaponi Queen) shows a profound awareness of the value of story, drawing on fictional models of infertility such as those in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, conversations with childless female writing colleagues, and Joan Didion and Adrienne Rich’s writings on motherhood, as well as her own fiction. Even though she calls herself “greedy for every kind of model,” her reach for connection to the world feels expansive rather than self-centered. This is true when she is playfully musing on the behavior of pregnant gorillas, or explaining the culture and many associated acronyms and neologisms of online support groups for women trying to conceive. It is also true when she connects with the alienation and shame experienced by forced-sterilization victims, the ethical dilemmas of adoptive parents, and the financial troubles of couples who are driven toward reproductive procedures that insurance does not cover. Boggs’s contemplative view of waiting as a mentally active practice offers comfort to those who cannot get exactly what they need even by the hardest of wishing. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Sept.)