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Look How Happy I'm Making You

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A candid, ultimately buoyant debut story collection about the realities of the "baby years," whether you're having one or not.

The women in Polly Rosenwaike's Look How Happy I'm Making You want to be mothers, or aren't sure they want to be mothers, or--having recently given birth--are overwhelmed by what they've wrought. Sharp and unsettling, wry and moving in its portrayal
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Doubleday Books
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Julia Kardon No, I would mark it as pro-choice or neutral about choice. Abortion does not come up in most of the stories, but it's treated matter-of-factly when it…moreNo, I would mark it as pro-choice or neutral about choice. Abortion does not come up in most of the stories, but it's treated matter-of-factly when it does. The characters who have abortions are not judged for those decisions by the narrator or by others. (less)

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4.10  · 
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 ·  304 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Karen (idleutopia_reads)
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m one of those people that don’t love short stories. I’m just not a fan. I feel that they lack in character development. On the other hand, I have read short stories that leave me amazed at how much an author packed in so few pages. Usually, with short stories, I end up liking some of the stories presented but am left underwhelmed by others. I am here to tell you that this was not the case with Look How Happy I’m Making You, I loved all of the stories. I had my favorites but even the ones that ...more
Christy Rogers
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Never before have I read an author’s work that cut so deeply. I felt like Polly Rosenwaike culled my thoughts and articulated them better than I ever could in these 12 perfect stories.

Each story is so strong it could stand alone but as a collection it knocks the breath out of you. The prose is beautiful, serious yet somehow light and includes no unnecessary narration. Rosenwaike’s insights are stunning, as are her meditations on the little moments of every day life. These characters are our sist
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
'A woman’s body was suppsed to know exactly what to do.'

In Polly Rosenwaike’s debut collection of stories, women are confronting more than just motherhood. There are relationship struggles, bodies that are failing to behave as nature intended, and conflicting emotions within their own minds. Growing up girls are rarely privy to the reality of pregnancy and childbirth. It isn’t like all those movies where an unexpected pregnancy is a happy blessi
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed these fine short stories so much! Each catches a woman at a transitional moment, whether she’s a new mom or ending a pregnancy, trying to start a family or resisting pressures to do so. I love the humor and honesty here, the wisdom and the ambivalence, the characters who are all so different and want such a variety of things but are all good company as they grapple with what life has dealt them.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t normally like short stories, but I absolutely LOVED this collection. These brought me back to the uniquely awful days of early motherhood; to the time when I was considering becoming a mother; to the first days, months and months in, where I felt like maybe things would be okay and I had the hang of it; to those hellish nights of (failed) sleep training, and more. These stories manage to capture all the nuances of motherhood, even in the characters who aren’t mothers. All without being s ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for the advanced read.

What a gem collection of short stories about mothers, mothers to be, or women who have a motherly role. This intimate collection captures their ups and downs during pregnancy and new motherhood. I wished that some of the stories continued into novels, which is a good complaint to have.
Heather Fineisen
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pregnancy. Birth. Abortion. Miscarriage. Parenting. These are all themes of the stories in this lyrical, thoughtful volume. Amusing at times, tear shedding at others, the stories here offer something the reader can relate to. I read it in one sitting. I will definitely look for more from this author.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
Look How Happy I'm Making You by Polly Rosenwaike features stories about women who want to be mothers, who reluctantly come into motherhood, who struggle with the identity of motherhood, who deal with post-partum depression, who never want(ed) to be mothers, who have lost mothers, who choose to terminate their motherhood.

I have mixed feelings about this book of short stories on motherhood -- probably because I am on the cusp of motherhood myself, less than 3 months away from giving birth to a m
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
WOW. I am in pieces on the floor, reeling and desperate for whatever Polly Rosenwaike's next book will be because right now I feel like only more of her words will be able to put me back together. I am not a mother, I've not had an abortion or a miscarriage or lost a child but... these stories shook me to the core, easily handing me the empathy I needed to be rocked by the good times and the very bad had within these pages. Each time I was comfortably following along, getting to know the charact ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: april-2019, 2019
Oh I loved everything about this book. Even though these stories aren’t connected, I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t a novel; the theme was just so cohesive. I loved the voice and the writing and the insight and I think I’m an instant Polly Rosenwaike superfan.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
It's been so long since I've been able to find a short story collection that I love. Required reading for anyone knee-deep in the "baby years" or even beyond them... or really just anyone, these stories are so good and so human.
Keith Taylor
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a book! A fabulous debut. Here is 500 words I did on this for our local magazine, but I fear I should have effused even more:
Abby Kincer
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
See my full reviews at and join me on Instagram @bookmarkedbya,!

Wow. Just... wow. I tend not to enjoy short stories because there's no time for development of characters or a clear meaning, but Look How Happy I'm Making You is absolutely not like that. The characters are developed quickly and vividly and the stories' meanings are very clear and very poignant

The topic of motherhood is a controversial one, especially tod
Jessica Sullivan
This short story collection chronicles the complex range of emotions that accompany pregnancy and new motherhood, focusing on everything from infertility to miscarriage and abortion to the mundane day to day of life with a newborn.

Rosenwaike’s insights and observations are so spot on: the best parts are those sentences (of which there are many) that reveal a truth so accurate that it makes you feel a little bit less alone.

Anyone who is a parent or who has ever thought about becoming one will sur
Peter Knox
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very smart collection of compelling short stories surrounding all stages of parenthood, that acknowledges how parents are people, flawed and imperfect and scared and angry and helpless people.

The stories progress from fear of pregnancy to fear of miscarriage to birth and what comes after. Each character is developed along with their circumstances and you really feel for everyone in these lessons of empathy (less so than the parents-behaving-badly positioning of the marketing around the book).
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, genuine, heartfelt, insightful. Real. Poetic. A wonderful book.
Hannah Stanley
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
At least 4 or 5 of the stories were good in some way. The one about postpartum depression is good, is clever and sheds light on a difficult subject. There's one where a woman "accidentally" gets pregnant by a guy she's been seeing, that story has a little suspense and tension that I liked.

The subject of every single story is kinda boring. Has a boring job/boring husband or is 36 and desperately single and sad. Like bad romcom characters.

Most of them are kind of depressing. Abortions,
Morgan Schulman
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review

Bravo! This book was everything- so many feelings at once (most of them painful) but so worthwhile as it pulled together all the complicated and conflicting emotions women feel about reproduction. There’s abortion, miscarriage, infertility, post partum depression, ambivalence, all of it. The characters are relatable even when you wish they weren’t so. An easy five
Interesting stories generally about sex and pregnancy, wanted and unwanted, expected and unexpected.

I liked them but only read about 100 pages. They just weren't compelling enough to pick up and I kept doing other things instead of reading the book so I returned it to the library.
Ives Phillips
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rarely does a contemporary fiction book anchor into my soul like Look How Happy I'm Making You, even an advance copy I was gifted. It was artistic, it was endearing and heartbreaking, and it made me question my choices thus far, of whether or not I truly want to give up parenthood and all the beautiful disasters that come with having a baby. This truly is a book that resonates with anyone who has it in the palm of their hands.
Camille Kraus
I won this book in the goodreads giveaway! Polly Rosenwaike is a wonderful author who pulled me in to the story and really made me see myself in the characters.
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
LOOK HOW HAPPY I’M MAKING YOU is a beautiful collection of short stories about pregnancy, motherhood, and everything in between.

Rosenwaike crafts simple, stunning narratives about women in all stages of a relationship with pregnancy - women who are trying desperately to get pregnant, women who have miscarried, women who don’t want to be pregnant at all, women who have had abortions. Her stories feel like “everywoman” stories; as a reader, you’re able to put yourself in the shoes of any of the w
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Look. I knew this book would come to an end. And I was sad about it. Because almost every story's a perfect nugget. And so many stories contain clever parallels (like the disappointment of having to date online when romance doesn't just 'happen' and the disappointment of having to go to a fertility clinic because pregnancy doesn't just 'happen'). But, also, I was ready to be done feeling so heavy with emotion, because, shit, I just kept crying at these stories. I underline in my books, and I len ...more
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm very appreciative of the general concept of this book - short stories that revolve around the facets of motherhood. Women who want kids, who don't want them, who can't have them, who have them reluctantly, who have them and regret it, who have and love them but at a risk to their own mental/physical health, who conceive them and lose them, who conceive them and don't keep them, who birth and then lose them. There's kind of an unspoken reminder here that women are judged for their maternal de ...more
Not a short story or essay fan, I read this because of the subject matter. Rosenwaike successfully explores a myriad of women’s reproduction-related journeys. Her characters’ experiences are well-rounded with an unfiltered rawness that yields a palpable veracity. As an expert in women’s health, I’ll be encouraging anyone interested in pursuing or professionally contributing to this realm to read this book. It is informative in a way no textbook ever could be.
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
There were a few 3-4 star stories in this collection but such a surprisingly overwhelming majority of the stories were 5 stars that I was still going to give the book overall a 5... until I hated the second story from last. So now I'm very sad to be giving this 4 stars instead of 5.
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful short story collection! After reading Carmen Maria Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" I thought I would be lucky if I found another great collection in the following months, years even... and then I happened upon this book right away!
Polly Rosenwaike is a keen observer and this ability allows her to treat the topic of motherhood from many different perspectives with equal skill. Looking forwards to more of her work!
Holly Mangiante
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A collection of short stories centered around motherhood, reproductive rights, and distinctly female experiences. I don’t typically go for short stories, because as soon as I get captivated by the characters, it’s over! However, this was so well written, I read the everything cover to cover in just a few days. Ms. Rosenwaike doesn’t shy away from tough subjects, covering infertility, reproductive rights, childbirth, adoption, and postpartum depression. I’d recommend for women who are looking for ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: expecting
I loved this book of short stories and would recommend it to anyone who is a mother, is thinking about becoming a mother, or has no desire to be a mother. Heck I would recommend it to anyone.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had really high expectations for this book, but judging from the other reviews, I'm one of the few who didn't find it to be outstanding. The concept of a book of short stories about motherhood sounded intriguing to me, but unfortunately, none of these really resonated with me. I didn't care for the characters and the writing often felt too heavy-handed with details. I'd been hoping to be moved and take a look at some different perspectives on the struggles surrounding motherhood, but these sto ...more
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POLLY ROSENWAIKE has published stories, essays, and reviews in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, The New York Times Book Review, Glimmer Train, New England Review, The Millions, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the fiction editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review and lives in Ann Arbor with her family.
“Everyone knows that only children smile out of sheer delight. In a real adult smile, there is always something other than happiness.” 0 likes
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