Crossing the Moon is a memoir--at once witty and wistful--in which the author recounts her initial ambivalence about motherhood, the pain and frustration of following a course of treatment for infertility, and ultimately the birth of a new self, a writer comfortable at last with her family of two. It also touches a wide array of other issues.
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Paulette Bates Alden grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where--for the female of the species--virginity, decorum, and becoming a mother were prized above all else. Bates Alden chose a different route, one that included premarital sex with a campus politico, a Volkswagen camper, and a fiction seminar with Tillie Olsen, who taught her to "stay the course. Sit at your desk, and write." Bates Alden became a writer and eventually married, but "from the very start, I had seen writing and motherhood as mutually exclusive." It wasn't until she turned 39 that the alarm on her biological clock went off. Crossing the Moon is the story of Bates Alden's uncertainty about having children, her struggle with infertility once she decided she wanted them desperately, and how her commitment to a life of writing weaves through it all. "Did I really want to be a mother," Bates Alden asks herself, "or did I really just want to conform to society's expectations for me?" This is a compelling tale about how each choice we make (or that is made for us) necessarily involves a sacrifice as well. "There were so many ways to be a woman, wife, mother, writer," says Bates Alden. "I had had to relinquish some things in order to get others." Bates Alden does come out the other side of these tribulations. We can only hope that we all arrive, like she has, at "a place where what is best is simply what is." --Jane SteinbergFrom Kirkus Reviews:
This low-key exploration of belatedly (age 40) wanting and not being able to conceive a baby is uncommonly sensitive and revealing. A casual observation of two mothers and their rambunctious offspring on an ice cream break at Dairy Queen launches Alden's (Feeding the Eagles, 1988) memoir of the years she spent waffling between wanting a child to nurture and wondering how a woman could surrender her life to the peremptory needs of a child. Alden longed, she came to realize, both to be her mother and not be her mother, to be a writer (inspired by mentors Wallace Stegner and Tillie Olsen) and to bear a child and be ``swallowed up by caretaking.'' Always ambivalent, she and her husband nevertheless moved ahead, at first leaving conception to the fates by simply abandoning birth control. As time went on, they more pointedly ``tried,'' scheduling intercourse for the fertile times dictated by thermometer and monthly cycles. Then they tried harder, enlisting the help of infertility experts for hormone treatments, artificial insemination, and the counting of follicles. Ultimately, they stopped trying, decided against adoption, and continued building their life as a ``family of two.'' But not without tears and a long, painful period of mourning for Alden. ``Our bodies were made to have babies,'' a therapist tells her. ``It takes a long time for the body to get over not having them.'' Far more than a recitation of the frustrations faced in specialists' waiting rooms, this is also an exploration of growing up as a southern girl, the conflicts encountered as the '60s and feminism overtook the wearing of white gloves and chicken salad luncheons, and the bending and mending of a mother and daughter's relationship. An eloquent self-examination without self-pity that helps resolve the now-common struggles of 30-plus women who face not only infertility but the conflict between society's expectations and personal fulfillment. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Hungry Mind Press, St. Paul, MN, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. SIGNED BY AUTHOR ON TITLE PAGE - Clean and tight - unused copy - Excellent!!. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 008179
Book Description Hungry Mind Press, Saint Paul, MN, U.S.A., 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition, First Printing. A witty and wistful memoir in which the author recounts her initial ambivalence about motherhood, the pain and frustration of following a course of treatment for infertility, and ultimately the birth of a new self as a writer comfortable at last with a family of two. New, unread copy in fine, mylar-protected dust jacket. U. Bookseller Inventory # 2876
Book Description Ruminator Books, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1886913080