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Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood by Christa Parravani

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What does the title of this memoir mean? “Loved and Wanted”: elusive, crucial goals for “Children” and “Womanhood.” “Choice”: as in abortion, which circles back around to “Loved and Wanted.” The author’s father wanted the pregnancy that created her to be aborted, and she feels an abortion “Choice” does not preclude “Loved and Wanted.”  Set in Morgantown, West Virginia, this is a memoir of a professor at West Virginia University that reads like the story of an unlucky marginal working-class woman – because she is. Her husband is a professor also, but not always helpful or even there. When she has two kids already and gets pregnant again, she agonizes and decides to have an abortion, but finds many kinds of barriers until it is too late. She gives birth. Her baby has health challenges. This is a frank, blow-by-blow, account of inadequacies all the way around: inside individuals who remind us of ourselves;  inside the family; inside the health care delivery system; inside jobs; inside state and local government - and their consequences. It is told in an engaging way, even an enveloping way. It is short to read and long to ponder.  "Haunting, wild, and quiet at once. A shimmering look at motherhood, in all its gothic pain and glory. I could not stop reading." ―Lisa Taddeo. "What emerges is not simply a portrait of Parravani's difficult marriage, painful health issues and stressful financial burdens but a complex picture of the unsayable circumstances that shape one woman's relationship to her body, to her choice to have children or not and the cost of that decision. In saying the unsayable, Parravani is unflinching and brave." ―BookPage. This is the second memoir by the author, Christa Parravani, a professor of creative non-fiction.

New York: Henry Holt, 2020. 206 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.