Accidentally on Purpose: A One-Night Stand, My Unplanned Parenthood, and Loving the Best Mistake I Ever Made

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9780061256929: Accidentally on Purpose: A One-Night Stand, My Unplanned Parenthood, and Loving the Best Mistake I Ever Made

At thirty-nine, movie critic Mary Pols knew she wanted to have a baby. But never—not in a million years—on her own. To take on the physical, emotional, and financial challenges of motherhood without a perfect soul mate/husband would be absurd, kind of like not bothering to use a condom during a one-night stand with an adorable but jobless guy ten years her junior.

Pols spends the ensuing weeks despairing over everything, from the financial nightmare of single motherhood to the end of her hopes for a traditional life. Not the least of her worries is finding the right way to drop the bombshell on loved ones, including her five siblings and eighty-four-year-old father, who has a German temper and an Irish Catholic attitude toward babies out of wedlock. Yet faced with the frightening, lonely truth that this might be her only chance at motherhood, she plunges ahead with the pregnancy and an Odd Couple version of a co-parenting relationship that looks like one more disaster in a long line of romantic disappointments. But even as she tries to give her son’s young father a radical makeover, she realizes that his devotion and love for their child matters more than his spotty résumé or his inability to remember to put oil in the car. With humor, insight, and compelling honesty, Pols reveals what it means to compromise in the name of love and to find joy in an accidental life, suddenly brimming with purpose.

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About the Author:

Mary F. Pols is a longtime movie critic and freelance journalist based in northern California. She has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Self, and Gourmet, and her film criticism appears regularly online at MSN and Time. A former Knight Fellow at Stanford, she is an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Review:

“[Pols writes] with humor and grace. . . . It’s rare to find such honesty, even in an account so personal. Grade: A-” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Sharp, witty and slightly self-deprecating, she alternates clever, camera-ready one-liners with intense self-revelations about parents, children, love and family....” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Ms. Pols is a charming and insightful storyteller, and her memoir is both engrossing and endearing ...” (New York Observer)

“Her writing is mesmerizing and lyrical. I laughed and cried and shook my head at some of her choices, but I rooted for her and her son the whole way.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Much as Pols’s story resembles the Judd Apatow movie, it is distinct in its heartfelt description of a woman who has come up against the edge of youth and expectation.” (Cookie Magazine)

“It’s funny, intimate, wise, and real, and we get to root for forty­something Mary, her twentysomething coparent, Matt, and their little son, Dolan, now four.” (Elle)

“Amid joy and heartbreak, Pols grows from a self-absorbed and judgmental whiner into a self-aware adult and loving mother. It’s her transformation that makes this memoir an unforgettable read.” (Diablo Magazine)

“Bay Area film critic Pols chronicles her unexpected pregnancy and journey into not-quite-single motherhood....A page-turner by someone who stopped waiting for Mr. Perfect.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Candid and unaffected, Pols provides an important lesson about not being willing to compromise herself, and that being brave can bring the richest rewards.” (Publishers Weekly)

“... a well-written, emotionally honest memoir of Pols’ journey to motherhood and increased maturity.... She details with wit and humor her efforts to juggle her many challenges...” (BookPage)

“...far transcends its particulars...thoughtful, funny and sexy...a delightful meditation on partnership, desire, fulfillment...” (Peggy Orenstein, bestselling author of Schoolgirls and Waiting for Daisy)

“Astutely witty...will grip you to the very last page. This is a feminist tale for our age.” (Heidi Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment)

“... [A] touching, funny, and brutally honest story...[Pols] is opinionated, vulnerable, droll, tenacious, acerbic, loyal...real.” (Kate Moses, author of Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race & Themselves)

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