With the laugh-out-loud humor and heartfelt wisdom that madeAnimal Husbandrya national bestseller, Laura Zigman's second novel introduces Ellen Franck, a successful single career woman whose one desire--a child of her own--throws her into the ever-growing ranks of the "reproductively challenged." Ellen has a life many people dream about--a glamorous fashion industry job, an apartment in Greenwich Village, good friends--and yet Ellen feels herself at sixes and sevens, filled with a vague longing for...what? She can't say. Then the sight of her newborn niece, Nicole (a.k.a. "The Pickle"), makes her realize exactly what she's been missing: a child. But there's one problem. Malcolm, the man she loves, is too scarred by the long-ago death of his young son to ever consider fatherhood again. Looking down the barrel of the dark side of thirty-five, Ellen knows that time is passing, and as it does, her desire to have a baby only increases--especially when her sister Lynn announces she's pregnant with her second child. Now Ellen must finally address the very real flaws in her relationship with Malcolm and examine her doubts and fears about the only option that seems to be available--single motherhood.
In her bestselling first book, Animal Husbandry, Zigman took a wry look at the mating rituals of young urbanites. Here she uses the same ironic tone to address the rituals of reproduction and one woman's anxiety about deciding whether to become a parent. At 35, Ellen Franck is bored with her glamorous job as marketing director for a fashion designer; she wants to have a baby. But her boyfriend, Malcolm, has made it clear that he doesn't want to be the father. An older, once-celebrated author who now teaches more than he writes, Malcolm takes Prozac to combat the depression he's wrestled with since Ben, his son from his first marriage, died of leukemia at age seven. Ellen cares for Malcolm despite his emotional remoteness and diminished sex drive (a side effect of the antidepressants), but her one true love is her three-year-old niece, Nicole, aka the Pickle. With Malcolm unlikely to change his mind, Ellen is forced to examine her insemination options, at one point kicking around the idea of co-parenting a child with Big Bird: "Big Bird would be the ideal parent. He's warm. He's affectionate. He's had a stable job for as long as I can remember." Will Ellen and her new best friend, Amy, who shares her "Pregnancy Fantasy Disorder," opt for artificial insemination and single motherhood? Settle for partners who'd make good fathers but less than satisfying husbands? Kidnap their nieces? Zigman's funny, conversational style draws the reader into Ellen's quest. Although the excessively happy ending is too pat to fit in with the wry tone of the rest of the book, the absorbing train of events and amusing dialogue make this a lark of a read. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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February 06, 2001
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