Currently reading

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Nayomi Munaweera

Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir

Everything You Ever Wanted: A Memoir - Jillian Lauren To a certain extent, the experience of the early part of this book was affected by the fact that I just finished another book about a baby-crazy lady trying to get pregnant and questioning herself and her marriage at every turn for that. So the early part of this book, about trying to get pregnant and failing and then deciding to adopt, was slow and annoying for me. Not that I think that adoptions are annoying -- just that all the agony she's going through didn't inspire sympathy in me. And there were some traits of the author that bothered me because she's so different than I am -- she's impetuous, jumping on bandwagons without thinking it through. I found myself wanting to yell at her to slow down and think. She does lots and lots of reading and research, but that doesn't translate into measured decisions somehow. I'm not a mother, so maybe mothers will recognize her thought processes more, but there were times that I could honestly say "okay, even I know it'll drive you crazy if you follow through on that one".

So... let's just take her kinda crazy as it is and talk about the book.

At first, it's a memoir of how to get a baby. Then it becomes a kind of confusing adoption horror story, since her child is inexplicably violent. Then it gets explicable: trauma, sensory issues. Then, ultimately, after a few years of tears and confusion and frustration, it becomes a success story. And I think all of that comes very honestly, in way that we feel what she felt as she felt it, not with the wisdom of looking back and evaluating it in light of the end. That's a good way to tell a story. But the level of emotional agitation is overwhelming. Only read it if you're feeling pretty stable yourself, because if I were anywhere near some kind of stress/panic, I wouldn't have been able to finish this book. And the only stress release in the whole book is at the end, so it's important to get there to have the full experience.

I wouldn't say it's an enjoyable read -- it's exhausting. But it's a good story told honestly, which makes it worth the effort.

I got a free copy of this from the First to Read program.