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Flesh & Blood: Reflections on Infertility, Family, and Creating a Bountiful Life: A Memoir

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Honest, warm, and witty, this memoir reads like a chat with a dear friend sharing her insight and taking us along as she heals. Complete with family stories over cocktails and a praying mantis named Claude.

“I drive and say to myself, if I am dying, if this is how I die, then this is how I die.” When N. West Moss finds herself bleeding uncontrollably in the middle of a writ
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 12th 2021 by Algonquin Books (first published 2021)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  228 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Start your review of Flesh & Blood: Reflections on Infertility, Family, and Creating a Bountiful Life: A Memoir
My Shelf Awareness review: Moss was accustomed to blood, yet clots soaking through pads and running down her legs came as a shock in her early 50s. "My uterus and I have been at odds for forever," she remarks, but this hemorrhage was so acute she drove herself to the ER. She needed an exploratory D&C, a cruel flashback to the failed pregnancies of her 40s. Soon she faced a total hysterectomy to remove a hemangioma. In Flesh & Blood, she tenderly traces the before and after of surgery and how she ...more
Basic B's Guide
Oct 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This was a beautifully moving tale of something we don’t encounter very often in books. The subject of miscarriage is never fully exposed like the devastation that it is. This story exposes it and the woman’s body as it is and with no restraint. I myself have never dealt with a miscarriage but experienced infertility for over a decade and a complete hysterectomy at the age of 42. I’m surrounded by friends and family that have however dealt with miscarriage. Why is such a prevalent experience so ...more
Aug 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This memoir is a work of art. It’s thoughtful, reflective, and meditative in ways that will stay with me for quite some time. Many readers are focusing on Moss’ experience with infertility, but this isn’t a memoir about desperately seeking motherhood. It’s about living a full life of your choosing. It’s about love and mindfulness. It’s about the wisdom of years and experience. And for those of us who’ve struggled with chronic illness, there is so much that resonates. I cannot recommend it enough ...more
Mathieu Cailler
May 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, poignant read. By turns tender, fragile, and laugh-out-loud funny, Moss's words feel like a conversation with a close and brilliant friend. ...more
Jul 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-2021
Wow, this memoir blew me away. This is Moss' memoir about trying to have children, struggling with infertility and miscarriages, reckoning with not having children, and dealing with a serious illness that made her bleed heavily and have very little energy. This book deals with tough topics, but it is a comforting book. Moss' writing is compelling and calming. She is forced to slow down and after hysterectomy surgery spent months recovering, mostly living in her sun room with her mother there to ...more
Mary K
Jun 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, great story - I loved this book! When Moss is still at an age when she can have - and wanted - children, she begins profusely bleeding and ends up having a hysterectomy. This is her journey of healing and grief. Moss writes without self-pity and there are some fabulous laugh-out-loud moments. Great book. Highly recommend.
Kristi Lamont
Mar 23, 2022 rated it it was ok
I took my mother’s advice and slept on this Book Report before writing it.

Because of that, I will use a lot fewer words today than I would’ve yesterday to share my thoughts on Flesh & Blood: Refections on Infertility, Family, and Creating a Bountiful Life: A Memoir,by N. West Moss.

1) This book did not resonate with me emotionally (as I had imagined it would, given that I, too, am in my 50s, and given that my husband and I were not able to have children).
2) There should be a limit to one semicolo
Leslie - Shobizreads
Dec 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio format of this book and found it to be so good. The author shares very honestly about the trauma of miscarriage both emotionally and physically. Women’s bodies experience m so much - especially when miscarriage and infertility are involved.

I appreciated the vulnerability and perspective she had to offer but can also see how this subject could be triggering for many especially in the midst of infertility or infant loss.

I have experienced a lifetime of pain & bleeding fro
Rhonda Lomazow
Sep 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
N.West Moss has written a beautiful memoir revealing open honest.She shares with us her desire for children her infertility her miscarriages.The author writes holding nothing back her grief her healing.This is also a book of life of her marriage the women who inspired her her mother her grandmother & great grandmother.She has an avid curiosity her mind always working curious about so much.She also has a terrific sense of humor.This is a book I will be recommending a life story that stayed with m ...more
Oct 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Flesh & Blood // by N. West Moss

My brain is a little jumbled today and I've been struggling to get my thoughts organized into a review. I spent the weekend away but put some time aside to read this book and I am glad I did. I'm a big fan of bringing taboo topics, such as miscarriage, periods, mental health, and more into the spotlight. I've read a couple of memoirs about them before but I do have to say that none of them were quite like this one. It is not as technical as I am used to -- somethi
Lawrence Lazare
Oct 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
With a central theme of infertility, some reviewers have categorized this book as a work for a female audience, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a beautiful memoir, that, to categorize it as being about infertility, is to sell it short. It's a meditation on life, loss, family, praying mantises, middle age, growing up in the woods north of New York City, the healing powers of celery soup, marriage, and yes, infertility. Despite the seriousness of the central subject, it’s fill ...more
Apr 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by this book. Such a difficult topic, in parts, but the only way I can think to describe her touch was ....gentle. so many small details stuck with me and continue to do so, over 2 weeks later. Her on the bathroom floor, petting her cat in between pain. The praying mantic Claude. Her husband, lifting up the corner of the blanket when she returns to bed, every time. These are like the stuff that life is about and I love those details. I just loved her writing style. Th ...more
Jan 05, 2022 rated it really liked it
“𝘐 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘺𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧, 𝘪𝘧 𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘥𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘪𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘦.”

𝘗𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭, 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨!

This memoir touched me deeply and will stay with me for a long time. I wish there were more stories that talked about this, I went through something very similar, I was blessed with a son, but ended up having an hysterectomy. After my surgery I found that there are a lot of women that can relate and I was not alone. Reading her story is a true testament of strenght, survival
Jeanne Claypoole
Oct 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written book captures the experience of chronic illness in a very honest and vulnerable way while also finding a way to focus on the beauty and supportiveness of our closest ties and the simple joys of nature. It is a good portrayal of how the experience of time itself changes when you are ill and you can only focus on what is happening to/in your body every single second until you are well again.
Tasha (Amaysn Reads)
Nov 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A memoir that reflected back to me so many thoughts after my hysterectomy in July. I’ll have a full review soon. Just know that this is totally worth the read
Dec 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Moss is a masterful story-teller. You immediately feel like you've know her your entire life. She's pragmatic about a topic that is taboo but shouldn't be and it is refreshing. I didn't want this book to end. ...more
Nov 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was so beautiful and bittersweet and sad but hopeful.
Sep 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A memoir about a woman with infertility and miscarriages and all that comes with it. The processing of the reality that she will never bear children and dealing with a serious illness that made her bleed heavily to the point she thought she was going to die.
When I received this ARC I was very nervous. I struggle with infertility and it tends to be a rigger for me when reading books especially ones with happy endings.
I loved this book. It was honest and refreshing. I felt comforted and cozy
Devon Reigh
Oct 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This story begins with N. West Moss bleeding. This isn’t something new as a concept for her, but this time is different: she’s bleeding so much that as she drives herself to the hospital her brain is cycling through the possibilities about what could be happening and how things may unfold if she loses too much blood. Thankfully, those are questions that don’t need to be answered at the time, but it leads to the need for a surgery. Moss documents the time leading up to and after the surgery in a ...more
Aug 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and surprisingly funny at times memoir interweaving experiences of hysterectomy, emotions surrounding infertility, family bonds, and the writing life. I especially loved her recollections of her grandma and strongly identified with those sections. Given the heavy subject matter, I appreciated the short chapters. Knocking off a star for odd definitions at the start of many chapters from online dictionaries and even Wikipedia - it felt out of place for a literary memoir.
#FleshBlood #NetG
Dec 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-story
West takes us through a tumlutuous time of her life. She has gone through several miscarriages. She has been bleeding for months and finally sees a doctor with a long road to find answers and recovery. Hard, insightful and raw about infertility and health but beautiful writing.
Ann Evans
Aug 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hey! Would you like to talk about heavy menstrual flow, hysterectomies, and infertility for a while? Whoa! Don’t run away. N. West Moss’s story is mounted on the quilted scaffolding of loving family, wise and bold social commentary.

The tale is told in short, fast-paced chapters which flow from one subject to another. There is no trudging around in the muck. One chapter is about grandma’s calendar, the next is about a felled pine tree, the following about the family history in New Orleans. Moss’
Aug 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading an Advance Readers Copy (ARC) provided through BookBrowse. This was an amazing little book. The title, Flesh & Blood, carries dual meaning - not only the literal flesh and blood of the author’s illness but also the “flesh and blood” of her family connections, and the discussions on family legacy. Beautifully written. Serious yet witty and humorous at times. Highly recommended for all women, not just those who live with infertility and loss. There are lessons to be learned b ...more
Oct 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"My husband sees me. I see myself. I may not feel well, but I don't feel invisible, and even with an unwell body, I swear that I have never felt more trembling on the edge of the sky, never felt more essentially seen and alive. I refuse what some women warn me of--that no longer being sexually alluring makes me dust or something. I am too busy beaming and being dazzled while the world shimmers around me like a giant ball of tangled yarn."
Thank you to @librofm for the Advanced Listener Copy of F
Sally Delp
Aug 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This a truly comforting little book. Despite what could be an ominous sounding title, the thoughts and feeling revealed by the author were eye-opening. I wanted to read this because I struggled with infertility and never found the reason for my problem. At 72 years old, I still consider infertility to be the heartbreak of my life. I was hoping for a road map of sorts on how to come to terms with it. And the author definitely delivered. But it is not just for infertility, it could be helpful for ...more
Patricia Linville
Aug 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Flesh and Blood by N. West Moss

As a mother of three with a rather textbook experience with childbirth and women’s health, it was humbling to read of Moss’s adverse experiences and their emotional toll.  Her descriptions of each part of the journey were open, vivid and introspective.

Moss not only details her physical health issues, she analyzes her emotional response to those problems as well.  She writes frequently of her maternal grandmother, whom she only knew for a short time as a child.  She
Aug 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed “Flesh & Blood” by N. West Moss and consider it an outstanding memoir! The book held my interest, and the short concise chapters kept the narrative moving. The author is a beautiful and poetic writer. She honestly shares her emotions and feelings about infertility and the daunting health challenges that she bravely endured. I loved the stories about her mother and grandmother, both remarkable women! Although much of the content is serious, the author has a sense of humor, an ...more
Oct 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Flesh & Blood by N. West Moss is a poetically-written memoir about the author’s struggles with her own body. Written in vignettes, the book centers on her hysterectomy, the life-threatening medical issues that lead up to it and the circuitous healing process afterwards. The short chapters made the book move quickly. I really liked the author’s delicate writing and spirituality. Though the author is an atheist, she is a keen observer of the world and has a philosopher’s soul. This book reminded m ...more
Deborah Payne
Oct 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley, kindle
Flesh and Blood

Reflections on Infertility, Family, and Creating a Bountiful Life: A Memoir

By: N. West Moss

Algonquin Books

Biographies and Memoirs

Publish Date 12 October 2021


50 Book ReviewsProfessional Reader

I would first like to thank both NetGalley and Algonquin books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Good Reads Synopsis:

Kirkus starred review calls it: “A moving, well-rendered portrait of the seriously ailing artist”

Book Review:

I gave this book 4 sta
Amanda Morgan
Jun 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I wasn't sure how I would relate to a book about infertility since I have not suffered in that manner, but the author's honesty and the way she unfolded her story was so compelling and beautiful I never once felt like I chose the wrong book for me.

Currently menopause-aged, the author and her husband have suffered through three miscarriages over the course of their marriage, and now she is dealing with uncontrollable bleeding that can only be fixed with a hysterectomy. Although this will definit
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