Good Minds Suggest: Meaghan O'Connell's Books that Get Real About Motherhood

Posted by Goodreads on March 26, 2018

When Meaghan O'Connell found out she was pregnant, she had just quit her cushy tech job, was newly engaged to her boyfriend, and living without health insurance in a tiny studio apartment in Brooklyn. With the baby's arrival came the sort of emotional and existential upheaval that could only be articulated—and coped with—through writing.

The result is And Now We Have Everything, an unflinchingly frank, darkly funny, and visceral motherhood story for our times about having a baby and staying, for better or worse, exactly yourself. O'Connell's book of connected essays follows her through the tumult of pregnancy, the madness of childbirth, and the identity crisis of new motherhood. O'Connell now works as a full-time writer and lives with her husband, Dustin, her four-year-old son, and new-baby-on-the-way in Portland, Oregon.

"When I started writing And Now We Have Everything, it seemed like no one was writing about the transition to parenthood, but perhaps I just wasn't looking hard enough," says O'Connell. "Over the years there have been some truly revelatory and consoling books about this wild phase of life, and there is a big wave of excellence to come." Here are a handful of my favorite books on motherhood.

"Rachel Cusk is the patron saint of a group chat I'm on with two other women who are writers and mothers. She is an incisive genius always—there are entire universes within a single sentence of her books—and when she turns her intellect to early motherhood? Woof."

"Ari is a new mother in an isolated upstate New York town, and she's full of rage at the world and the institution of motherhood (and womanhood!), and in Albert's latest novel, we get to rage—and soften—vicariously. A friend of mine gave me an advance copy of this book right after my son was born, and it helped me accept and understand my own desire to stomp around and throw rocks (and read Adrienne Rich). What a gift."

"I adore Bomer for her brutal honesty and wit, and reading this novel is living out every mother's occasional fantasy. The main character, a Brooklyn mom and thwarted artist, drains her savings account, throws the car seats and her cellphone away at a rest stop, and spends most of her (third, and this time unexpected) pregnancy on a solo road trip, trying to reckon with her desire to make art and be a person in the face of what's to come."

"Deciding whether to have a child is one of the bigger questions of a person's life, and in her latest book, Heti gives this question its due rigor and candor. Brilliant and funny and utterly disarming, this book had me glued to the couch in a sort of readerly ecstasy."

"This is the informative and intelligent (and feminist!) book about pregnancy that we have been waiting for—I am convinced it will help so many women. Garbes shares her own experiences generously but weaves them with scientific revelations that will make you text your friends, 'DID YOU KNOW?' There is, among other things, a chapter about miscarriage, a chapter about the pelvic floor, and a chapter about the always-intriguing placenta. Ideal."

Want more book recommendations from authors? Check out our Good Minds Suggest series.

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann Davidman I love seeing these titles and I can't wait to read a couple of them. I'd love the book I co-authored with Denise L. Carlini to be on this list. I think it will round it out well. Motherhood-Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Clarity. Thank you.

message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I would add Annie Lamott’s Bitingly funny and ultimately triumphant, “Operating Instructions”. I give it to new moms because I think it will help them hold on to their heart and sanity. Seeing someone clearly less qualified to be a parent (I think Lamont would agree, if you had to have a license to be a parent, she would have been denied on multiple grounds) struggle through the horror and heaven with humor and honesty is very comforting.

message 3: by Cristina (new)

Cristina Pereira Life after Birth, from Kate Figes, is the best book about the monumental revolution that happens in a woman's (and parents) life after she becomes a mother.

message 4: by Jacob01 (last edited May 15, 2021 06:18AM) (new)

Jacob01 You choose a very good topic, I think everyone's life is a book and am very impressed website for free robux by reading this article. Thank you!

back to top