*The Baby on the Fire Escape*

An excellent book, full of substance and going well beyond cliche, the author is Julie Phillips and the subtitle is Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem.  Strikingly unsentimental, it covers women writers who balanced (or didn’t balance) their creative urges with their child-rearing responsibilities.  Excerpt:

Grace Hartigan married at nineteen and had her son the same year, 1941.  In 1975 she said:

“My son bitterly opposed my painting.  He would stay after school and would come in at five o’clock, look at me, and say: “I know, you have been painting again.”  When he got to be twelve and his father had remarried, I sent him to California.  I have never seen him since.  It is a very bitter relationship.”

I especially enjoyed the chapters on Doris Lessing, Ursula Le Guin, and Angela Carter.  Will make the year’s “Best Non-Fiction” list.


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