Jenna's Reviews > Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman
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's review
Sep 26, 07

Recommended for: mothers
Read in September, 2007

It's my fault, really. I put this book on my "to read" list a very, very long time ago, well before I was pregnant. When I saw it in the library, I picked it up without reading the jacket, instead remembering that I had once placed it on my list and therefore it must be something that I can read at any time. Wrong.

Pregnant mothers, especially those who have experienced a previous loss, should not read this while pregnant (or immediately after baby's arrival... not that you have time to read then). It deals, heavily, with the sudden death of the main character's daughter shortly after leaving the hospital. It is emotionally draining at times, somewhat frightening and, generally, a hard read for mothers who want to believe that their baby will be okay, no matter what.

Some have written the main character off as whiny. I am nearly certain that those reviewers have never experienced the loss of a child. While she does whine, it is deservedly so at times. Does she take it too far? Does she let it interfere with other relationships? Well, yes. The grief of a mother can be so all-encompassing that it blocks view of everything else. While this is an extreme (fictional!) view of that overwhelming grief, I think more than one mother on this planet has watched a marriage dissolve in light of the death of a child (young or old). Thankfully, this was fiction and things were brought about by the end of the book. All that said, her reactions to others' pregnancies and various other stressors in her life seems, while whiny, quite realistic in light of that grief and loss. (Especially considering she's not receiving any therapy!)

I only gave this book three stars, however, because I read it at the entirely wrong point in my life. It left me stressed out, worrying about the health of our own child on the way in light of our loss last year. I should be better at checking books that have been on my list for awhile before reading them. The three star rating is my own fault but I cannot give it more at this time.

Issues discussed include infant death, SIDS, pregnancy, birth, death, infidelity, divorce, step-parenting, anger, grief, loss, anxiety, depression and brief sexual description.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Debbie i liked your review and i agree. i read it having older children and her grief was palpable and realistic.

message 2: by Norell (new)

Norell Leung Regarding those who say the main character is being whiny/overdramatic... Lets not forget her secret, in the end, that she truly believed that she killed her child. I don't think to think that she was being silly. We resort to all kinds of things in our minds and hearts when as in this case of SIDS, there is no answer. I think a secret like this could make any sane person react as the main character did.

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