Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rockabye Book Review

When I first started blogging over two years ago, I had a very short list of blogs that I read - mainly, because I was new at blogging so I only knew of a handful of blogs. One of the very first blogs I stumbled upon was Rebecca Woolf's blog, (This) Girl's Gone Child. I was captivated by her writing. It drew me in. So much so, that despite having since found gazillions of mommy blogs, her blog is still one of my favorite places to visit to this very day. I rarely ever comment, but I still have her on my short list of favorite reads.

So when the Parent Bloggers Network offered me an opportunity to review her new book, Rockabye, I jumped at the chance.

Rockabye is a memoir that chronicles Rebecca's unexpected pregnancy at 23 and her struggle to come to grips with a life turned upside down. In the first chapter, she poignantly relates her fear and subsequent anger at finding out that she was indeed pregnant.

I adjust the tests to control the chaos. I drag my finger cross the urine-soaked vanity table and write my name in piss and eye-shadow dust. For two hours I hide under the sink, folded up like origami, watching the clock move its rusted hands around the face of time. Everything is moving as if underwater, slowly dancing with the current that I can recognize only as fear.

I cannot imagine how scary it would be to be pregnant unexpectedly - and yet, I actually can imagine it, now having read these passages. Rebecca is so descriptive in her narrative. It's like I am right there with her in the bathroom watching her check those pregnancy tests.

As the memoir unfolds, you read how Rebecca rises from the darkness and fear of these initial chaotic moments of finding out she was pregnant and quickly takes control of her own happiness. You read about how she falls in love with her son, Archer, and then about how she struggles - like any new parent. I can relate to her description of her stay in the hospital with Archer after he was born.

We're so comfortable right here and now, in or bubble world with vending machines and a red button that brings help. There will be no red buttons tomorrow. Or the next day.

But as it turns out, Rebecca does just fine as a new mom, though it is all new and there is much to learn. As she states, "Today Archer is one week old, and in many ways I am too."

Her book is inspiring in so many ways. For example, later in the book when Archer is labeled a future "problem child" when he doesn't behave just so for all of the developmental tests, I am struck by how Rebecca refuses to accept that there is something wrong with her son just because he won't do exactly what he's told by the developmental specialist.

Aspiring for mediocrity and doing what we are told is not what we should teach our children. Conforming is not the answer to Archer's developmental "differences." Or anyone's for that matter. If our kids are the future, for god's sake, let's teach them to question and let them lead the way. Following the leader has never been a way to make any positive change.

I was also inspired by her courage and ability to do things her way, which for her was, in her words, "backward and inside out and upside down." But really, it was the perfect way for it all to happen. For their family.

And somehow, I found myself identifying with Rebecca. Not because I have tattoos (I don't) or because I was a big party girl who got pregnant unexpectedly (I wasn't), but because I'm a mother. And so much of Rebecca's book is about the universal experience of coming into new motherhood - stumbling, getting back up, finding your way, and finding yourself - a new and improved self - in the process.


Anonymous Kellie said...

I haven't read this book yet. However, I do love Rebecca's blog! Looks like a book I will have to get! Great review!

10:57 AM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Thank you so much for this FANTASTIC review. I'm so grateful you liked the book! Kisses on your cheeks!

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Spot on. I haven't read the whole book yet, but was (luckily!!!) in on some of the original critiquing work as she was writing. Your opinion matches my own in how she writes.

It's just captivating.

P.S. Check the acknowledgements. Your name might be in there as a member of Caught in the Draft.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

love the website. I do plan on getting this book since reading your review. Thanks!

1:19 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

I can't wait to read her book! Thanks for the great review!

3:25 PM  
Blogger lildb said...

beautifully reviewed, C. thanks for doing Rebecca's book such a solid.

2:22 PM  

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