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Motherhood

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  8,355 ratings  ·  1,211 reviews
From the author of How Should a Person Be? (“one of the most talked-about books of the year”—Time Magazine) and the New York Times Bestseller Women in Clothes comes a daring novel about whether to have children.

In Motherhood, Sheila Heti asks what is gained and what is lost when a woman becomes a mother, treating the most consequential decision of early adulthood with the
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 7th 2018 by Henry Holt & Company
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  8,355 ratings  ·  1,211 reviews


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Ariel
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Everyone needs to read this book. It's about a lady who knows what she wants but feels like maybe she doesn't know what she wants and that's relatable. Go get it!
Gretchen
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: realist, gave-up-on
I decided I had had enough of this self-absorbed, wheel-spinning First World Problems book when the author said she felt jealous of gay men (why gay men only I don't know) for getting the experience of coming out, because it means they knew what they wanted and had occasion to let the rest of the world know. The preceding 130 pages were similarly lacking in perspective and empathy, which hollowed out so much of the truly interesting concerns that the narrator/author posed, making it all feel lik ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read2018
Sheila Heti's narrator explores motherhood through numerous lenses as she confronts her age of 37. From coins to dreams to readings, she lets the universe dictate some of the conversation (literally) while she thinks deeply about motherhood vs. societal expectation, motherhood vs. feminism, and motherhood vs. art. A very enjoyable read with lots to think about, but I found I thought of it as essay and had to constantly reframe as a novel. Read after hearing about it from Lindy on Reading Envy Po ...more
JS is Reading
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, the context that I am a big fan of “plotless fiction” as well as autobiographical fiction a la Ben Lerner – so this combined with my particular stage of life makes me the ideal reader for this book.

I could not stop reading it once I started. I feel like the conversation that Sheila is having with herself and the characters in this novel is a conversation that no one else is having and it's a book that many young women need, even though they may not even know it.

I almost wish this book wa
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Wynne Kontos
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
The emperor has no clothes people!

If you enjoyed this, ask yourself: are you a white, upper-middle class woman who is searching for a long term relationship or already has one? Are you in your "child bearing years?" Do you like things like brunch, Apartment Therapy and iced matcha? I meet all of these qualifications (except for the matcha) so I seem to be the exact audience that Sheila Heti is aiming for.

But this was 281 pages of the biggest navel-gazing I've ever seen in my entire life. What se
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Britta Böhler
"What is the main activity of a woman's life if not motherhood?" Seriously? SERIOUSLY?
Canadian
In a piece of occasionally self-indulgent and overly long autobiographical fiction, Sheila Heti explores the question of whether or not to have children. Her unnamed narrator, like Heti herself, is a Toronto writer approaching forty with a loudly ticking biological clock. All the central character’s friends are reproducing, and she feels a degree of abandonment by them as they surrender to the biological imperative she resists. Her boyfriend, Miles, who himself fathered a child when young, is su ...more
Thomas
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
An insightful, charismatic, deeply felt autobiographical novel that centers on the theme of motherhood. Our protagonist, an unnamed woman in her late thirties, feels pressured to have a child from her friends and from a society that values women based on their capacity to reproduce. This pressure launches our protagonist into a compelling self-exploration about whether she should have children, the emotions and morals surrounding the idea of having a child, for whom she wants to live her life, a ...more
Antoinette
Dec 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book did absolutely nothing for me. For most of the book, I felt like I was in the author's brain going round and round on a merry go round with no end in sight.
To be or not to be a mother, that is the question? Why can't I commit? What is wrong with me? And if I do decide to take the plunge, will it devastate my life? A woman who is so wrapped up in herself, she cannot see what is staring her in the face. She needs help!!
For all the introspection and all that soul searching, the book felt
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Never Without a Book
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found this book extremely tedious and contrived. All of the coin flipping and existential questions was dumb. Overall, this seemed too self-focused and pretentious.  


Are you happy it’s over?
.Yes

Are you getting your credit back from audible?
.Hell YES!

Would you recommend this book?
.😑 (suck teeth)

Ready for that drink now?
.🍷🍷🍷🍷

Portal in the Pages
Perfect.
Skyler Autumn
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

Motherhood is less of a plot based novel or even a character study instead I'd classify it as a meditation on Motherhood. One of those plotless books that felt almost biographical in its delivery.

Motherhood follows our unnamed protagonist as she begins to examine the choice of whether or not to have children. That's it, the entire book. Its a contemplation on parenthood and what it means or doesn't if one chooses to not partake in this so called passage. For most, Motherhood is a stepp
...more
Leo Robertson
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
LOVED this one!

A hilarious, poignant and honest account of one woman's dithering over what might be the most important decision of her life—but hang on, why HER life and not HIS? Why important, even? And so on, encapsulating an encyclopaedic collection of questions and considerations on the theme of becoming a mother.

It's so funny because I'd assumed these were stupid questions, or questions that surely must be posited and answered in some body of philosophical literature—but is it really the ca
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MissBecka
This was suuuuuuper depressing.
Not the kind of depressing that inspires compassion, but rather a pity party that made me feel really uncomfortable & bored waiting for it to end.
...more
Ana
New favourite!

Reading Women Challenge 2018

#9. A book by an Australian or a Canadian author

“On the one hand, the joy of children. On the other hand, the misery of them. On the one hand, the freedom of not having children. On the other hand, the loss of never having had them—but what is there to lose?”


Any attempt at a review of this book would be too personal, as plenty of Heti’s aphoristic paragraphs mirrored my thoughts on the questions beings asked. Needless to say, I couldn’t have
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Rebecca
Should one have children? No matter who’s asking the question or in what context, you’re going to get the whole gamut of replies, as proven by this recent Literary Hub survey of authors. Should I have children? Turn the question personal and, even if it’s actually rhetorical, you’ll still get an opinion from every quarter. As The Decision looms over her, the narrator of Sheila Heti’s new novel, a 37-year-old writer from Toronto, isn’t sure who to listen to. Her neurotic inner voice makes her sec ...more
Ann Campbell
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was well reviewed and well written; unfortunately it was hypnotizingly tedious to read. It was as if the worst, most self-indulgent aspects of a 2am dorm discussion about the meaning of life with nineteen year olds were distilled into a pseudo-novel. It may sound smart in excerpts, but in its full length it just sounds wankerish. The author ponders with distress whether to have a child and then ponders the question again and again until she’s too old to get pregnant. The end.
Liina Bachmann
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
To have or not to have children - “The Mother of All Decisions”, as the New York Times review by Elaine Blair stated. Sheila Heti takes 284 pages to autopsy it (through a nameless narrator) in regards to where she stands as time is running out. “I am in the afternoon of my life. The time for children is breakfast,” she says.

It becomes clear quite early on that she has actually made up her mind already - she prefers her creative freedom and doesn’t let herself be fooled by the burden of conventi
...more
Michelle Hart
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
"There is a kind of sadness at not wanting the things that give so many other people their life's meaning. There can be sadness at not living out a more universal story--the supposed life cycle--how out of one life cycle another cycle is supposed to come. But when out of your life, no new cycle comes, what does that feel like? It feels like nothing. Yet there is a bit of a let-down feeling when the great things that happen in the lives of others--you don't actually want those things for yourself ...more
Elyse  Walters
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook...Library Overdrive narrated by Canadian author...Sheila Heti.

“Motherhood” was a shortlisted finalist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
It’s considered an ‘autobiographical-novel’.... focused on her deliberation on whether or not to have children.
She explores the emphasis society places on motherhood and how women are judged regardless of their decision......
.....in a very unique question and answer format.
Who was Sheila asking questions to you might ask? Her spiritual soul ....
...more
Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?
As women, it's our one job to reproduce, but is it? Some women can't wait to be mothers, others want to wait for the right time. Some women can't have children, and some women don't want children. This book examines one woman's journey through one of the biggest decisions women make between the ages of 20-40(the childbearing years). To have a baby or not to have a baby, that is the question.

Thank you to Henry Holt and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

I couldn't get th
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Krista
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2018, can-con
Whether I want a kid is a secret I keep from myself – it is the greatest secret I keep from myself.

Motherhood is billed as a novel but reads like a diary; recording all of the uncertainty and changes of heart of Sheila Heti's unnamed narrator (like Heti herself, a Toronto-based writer approaching forty) as she tries to figure out if she wants to give birth before her unwinding biological clock renders the decision-making process moot. Being of this certain age, the narrator is surrounded by
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Gregory Baird
Warning: if you are not into novels as therapy, this is not the book for you. If authorial gimmicks are not your thing, this is not the book for you.

Motherhood is 300 pages of highly performative therapy as a writer agonizes over whether or not to have children. Is this writer a stand-in for Sheila Heti herself? I confess I don't care enough to look into the matter. Certainly, Heti has an avant-garde approach to novel-writing. How Should a Person Be?, which I have not read, was largely taken fro
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Melissa
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this book is a dear friend to my soul: a reassuring balm, a giddy compatriot, and also, just, exquisite.
Tao
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My blurb for Sheila Heti's novel:

"I deeply enjoyed Sheila Heti's fractal, meticulous, and twinklingly self-aware book—in which every part seemed to know, and be informed by, every other part—about art and time and change and books and babies. Motherhood synergistically functions both as an intimate, moving, autobiographical novel and as a practical, mysterious, five-year tool used by its protagonist to help her contemplate and answer central questions in her life. I think of Motherhood as a beau
...more
Heath
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Though I really could have done without that part where the narrator rhapsodizes about how she wishes that she was gay, specifically a gay man, so that she could announce publicly to everyone who she is.
It made me want to announce to the narrator exactly how I wish I had a book deal, so I could announce just how I am.
Jacqueline
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe I picked the right time to read this book. As a 25 year old, motherhood and marriage are things that have crept into my mind recently. Not that I’m saying that this book will have the answer for you, but it provides a valuable perspective that encourages you to reflect on motherhood both personally and as a societal concept. The main reason I was intrigued by this book in the first place is because I have never yet read a book that talks about motherhood and periods AND I WANTED TO HEA ...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a mixed read for me. Some sections were electrifying, others were painful. I enjoyed Heti’s grappling with the question of motherhood and I do like it when writers like Heti, Cusk and Daum confront this topic. But something was slightly askew for me and the novelty of the questioning and coin tossing wore off for me pretty quickly. So I definitely didn’t love it as much as many of you did but parts of it were breathtaking.
Janelle Janson
Thank you so much Henry Holt for providing my free copy of MOTHERHOOD by Sheila Heiti all opinions are my own.

I found this book to be incredibly unique. It reads much like an autobiographical work of fiction novel but with an unnamed narrator. It’s extremely reflective, introspective, evocative, and relevant. At the age of thirty-seven, the narrator is philosophizing and questioning the expectation of motherhood, being a parent, and what that means to her. This novel takes place over the course
...more
Jessica Sullivan
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
“To go along with what nature demands and to resist it—both are really beautiful—impressive and difficult in their own ways. To battle nature and submit to nature, both feel very worthy. They both seem entirely valuable.”

It was interesting reading a book on a woman’s ambivalence about motherhood when becoming a mother is something I’ve never been at all ambivalent about myself. This isn’t the first I’ve read of Heti, so I knew what I was getting myself into: deeply philosophical, intellectual,
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: New Book Cover 3 14 May 28, 2019 11:28PM  
Play Book Tag: Motherhood - Sheila Heti - 2 stars 3 24 Oct 31, 2018 01:17PM  

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Sheila Heti is the author of five books; three books of fiction, a children's book, and a work of non-fiction with Misha Glouberman. She is Interviews Editor at The Believer and is known for her long interviews. She lives in Toronto.

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“There is something threatening about a woman who is not occupied with children. There is something at-loose-ends feeling about such a woman. What is she going to do instead? What sort of trouble will she make?” 16 likes
“The conversation went on for another half hour, before this man's girlfriend, who had not said much of anything until then, remarked, Being a woman, you can't just say you don't want a child. You have to have some big plan or idea of what you're going to do instead. And it better be something great. And you had better be able to tell it convincingly - before it even happens - what the arc of your life will be. 13 likes
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