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A Better Woman: A Memoir

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Acclaimed novelist Susan Johnson found, at age thirty-five, that her desire to have a baby became overwhelming. She had no inkling what motherhood would cost -- or give -- her. But as she went on to experience pregnancy and birth, and their impact on her marriage, health, and heart, she recorded it all. In this hauntingly lovely account, Johnson portrays a woman transforme ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 1999)
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Debbie Robson
Jun 15, 2015 Debbie Robson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s very easy to live in little boxes, feeling that a lot of people have it easier than us. They have more fame, more money and good health and are not worried about extra wrinkles. Of course this just isn’t the case but we can forget unless people like Susan Johnson and Norah Ephron talk or write about their own experiences.
Suddenly with a barrage of new wrinkles I found comfort in Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck. I also used to think I had it tough with the birth of my first child. A serio
At the age of 35, Susan Johnson realizes that she desperately wants to be a mother. At 38 she is pregnant with her first child, moving back her to homeland of Australia, and getting ready to "settle." Although deliriously happy with her new baby and new life, she realizes that something isn't quite right and is soon diagnosed with a recto-vaginal fistula, something that is practically unheard of in the Western world (although prevalent in developing countries). This memoir is Susan's story--abou ...more
May 27, 2016 SHR rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book refreshing in its portrayal of motherhood.

It is about Johnson’s experience of becoming a mother and the impact of getting a recto-vaginal fistula as a result of the births of her two sons and the subsequent treatment she had to undergo – how this impacted her relationships and self-image.

She explores how motherhood changed her life and in particular her place in the world, as a writer, as well as her pre- and post- motherhood views on parenting.
Johnson was candid about her ch
Jan 15, 2011 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is more like a 3.5 for me. one note - I wouldn't recommend this to women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant! (sounds like some sort of warning from a drug company!)She experiences some crazy physical stuff that does not happen to many women. So if you're squeamish, you might not want to read it quite yet. But now everyone's going to want to read it to find out what happens to her...
Sonya Feher
Feb 12, 2009 Sonya Feher rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, parenting
A Better Woman couldn't decide what it was about, or maybe it was a case of the publisher billing the book as something other than it actually is. The focus shifts from Johnson's pregnancies and their lasting physical complications, her troubled marriage, and her difficulties writing once the babies come. The result is something less than satisfactory because nothing is fully explored and there are no great revelations.
Ellen Keim
An uncomfortable topic written about sensitively. But I do agree with another reviewer that this was sort of a mixed bag. A good deal of it is an essay on motherhood and life and I think this is where the author is at her best. Then there is the memoir part which is basically about her physical trauma from childbirth. She throws in excerpts about house buying, relocating, her marriage and her writing.
Bronwyn Rykiert
I read this for book club and I think we will be able to have quite a good discussion on it because I already know that a couple of people did not enjoy it at all. I found it easy to read, some of it was enjoyable and some of it just intereesting. I found myself reflecting back to my own children when they were young along the way. All in all I found this book to be a good read.
Deborah Biancotti
I read this a few years ao & what I remember is Johnson's searing honesty & thoughtful articulation of being a woman in a woman's body when things go so badly wrong you feel like that body has betrayed you.
Rebecca Blackson
Jun 24, 2008 Rebecca Blackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
After a terrible complication from childbirth, this woman remains optimistic despite her challenges and learns that all her sacrifices to be a mother is forever worth it. My favorite line: "Our children are our most beautiful wishes."
Jan 27, 2013 Crystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark, graphic and hard to read at times but now that I finished it I find myself feeling like I enjoyed the experience.
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Susan Johnson was shortlisted for the 1991 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for her novel Flying Lessons, shortlisted for the 1994 National Book Council's Banjo Award for the novel A Big Life and shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2000 for her memoir A Better Woman. Her other books include Hungry Ghosts, Messages from Chaos, Women Love Sex (editor and contributor) and Life in Seven Mis ...more
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