Thursday, March 20, 2008

Something I'm Not - Latest Childfree Novel?

A woman's choice to be childless
Lucy Beresford's accomplished debut, Something I'm Not . . .follows Amber, a successful, happily-married woman who has very consciously decided to eschew motherhood. It's a tale that draws heavily on Beresford's day job as a psychotherapist (and the fact that she also happens to be childless), and surely owes much of its success to this well of personal experience.
. . .
It follows a rather Freudian line perhaps, but as her behaviour becomes increasingly irrational - from jealousy of a female cat to an anonymous infidelity and even an unhinged act of vandalism - Amber is propelled towards the inevitable confrontation with her estranged mother, where unwelcome parallels and unexpected tragedy emerge to make sense of things.
. . .
And Something I'm Not - which incidentally acts as a refrain uttered by almost every single character - constitutes a complex odyssey that is ambitious in scope, carefully structured and highly accessible. It trumpets the courage needed to make - and stand by - difficult, life-defining decisions, as well as the hereditary effects of unresolved trauma and the importance of friends to our mental well-being.
Of course, without knowing what the ending is, I can't tell you whether the book will appeal to childfree readers. I'm sure many of you would not want to waste your time if the book "jumps the shark" and ends up with the protagonist solving all her problems via a broken condom. But I can guess that this is not one of those books by the fact that the author herself eschewed motherhood. I'll open the comments to readers who have read the book or know the ending, so possible spoiler alert if any readers take me up on this.

Of course, judging by the description, this is no No No Kidding, or Baby Proof that focuses on one woman's struggle to be childfree in a pronatalist world - there are far deeper themes.

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