I’m excited to share my review for this unique book, Small on Motherhoods by Claire Lynch. Sometimes as a blogger a book is offered that grabs you for its subtle cover, and blurb. These are books you may not notice in a bookshop unless you were looking for them, but once seen they pull you closer urging you to read them. Scroll down to see if this book met my expectations.
Book Review: Small on Motherhoods by Claire Lynch
Title: Small on Motherhoods
Author: Claire Lynch
Publisher: Octopus books
Genre: Memoir, LGBQT, pregnancy
Release date: 24th June 2021
“Babies who are this small, he says, have a good chance of survival. Small is not good for babies. It is not whimsical or cute or the cause of admiration. It is the first time it occurs to us that they might not survive. Babies die from smallness.”
Claire Lynch knew that having children with her wife would be complicated, but she could never have
anticipated the extent to which her life would be redrawn by the process. Female same-sex couples and single women are said to be disproportionately impacted by these policies, which require that they self-finance costly, and less effective, artificial insemination (in some cases for at least two years) before becoming eligible for funded IVF.
A dazzling literary debut exploring female loss, fertility and queer motherhood.
small begins with the smallest of life’s substances: the microscopic cells subdividing in a petri dish in a fertility
treatment centre. Claire moves through her story in incremental yet ever growing steps, from the finger nail sized pregnancy test result screen which bears two affirmative lines to the premature arrival of her children who have to wear scale-model oxygen masks in their life-saving incubators. small explores what it means to be seen and simultaneously ‘unseen’ as parents in a same-sex relationship. It creates space for parents that don’t feel represented in forms, antenatal classes or in bookshelves. Devastatingly poignant, profoundly observant, and funny against the odds, Claire considers whether it is our smallness that makes our lives so big.
“ORIGINAL, IMPORTANT, MOVING, FUNNY – QUITE A FEAT.” BERNARDINE EVARISTO
Oh, my! How do I explain my adoration for this quiet book that speaks volumes, tugs at the heart and made me reflect my own experiences of motherhood adding to the emotional journey? Its beauty is in the observations of the miniscule details of the moments in motherhood that can pass in a blink of an eye told in a stunning, poetic style. Claire Lynch tells the story of her experiences of parenting from the moment she discussed the idea with her wife, to conception, and beyond with honesty, humour and warmth. Her ability to capture and describe the snapshots of the early years so well, made me recall the dreaded ante-natal lessons, the bewildering moments of holding a newborn and the endless questions of a toddler. It added an new dimension to the reading experience. Not only was I reading their story, I was reconnecting with mine.
The love for her wife and children leaps off the page, making me feel privileged to have a glimpse into their lives. It was a pleasure to read and the wonderful use of language means the story glides effortlessly into your mind and heart. It is a book that will be hard to forget and I’d love to read what happens next when the children grow.
Would I recommend?
Yes, this is a book on the pain, joy and wonder of early motherhood until school age and is one to be treasured and kept on a forever shelf; I wish it had been there when I was at the beginning of my journey of being a mum. Its unique structure and format suits the lyrical style perfectly. It is an evocative, wise and poignant read that lifts the spirits and shows that with motherhood, small things do matter.
Claire Lynch works as a university lecturer and is author of two academic books and numerous scholarly articles and chapters. Small is her first book for a general audience. Claire’s Four Thought talk ‘The Other Mother’ was first broadcast on BBC Radio Four in 2020 and her first piece of narrative non-fiction took second place in the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in 2017. She was a shortlisted writer for the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme in 2018 and a longlisted writer for the Hinterland non-fiction Prize in 2019. small is her first book for a general audience.
Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.