A self-described "master fretter," the pregnant Ann Leary worried over her first-born but could never have predicted what was in their future: the delivery, three months early, of two-pound, six-ounce Jack in a distant land. A quick jaunt to England, where Ann's husband, comedian Denis Leary, has a gig, is suddenly interrupted when Ann's membranes rupture. Ann, who once believed she was the type of person who would take charge in a disaster --- leading people from a plane crash, for example --- found that she was "in fact, the shrieking, running-into-the-burning-wreckage type." After much hysteria and a cab ride, Ann and Denis find themselves in London's University College Hospital. She is put to bed in the hope that the delivery will be delayed as long as possible. Ann, who moved frequently as a child, sometimes feels like an awkward newcomer. In a roomful of British mums, she truly is out of her element. When asked if she is ready for tea, for example, she...
Ann Leary's autobiographical account of her sons birth abroad, amidst the rise of her husbands comedy career, is well-written, interesting, and very truthful. Unlike some autobiographical stories, Ann doesn't attempt to present herself as some sort of hero, and she doesn't portray anything that happened to her in a way that is self-serving. She tells it like it is. And it is a very interesting story. From her son's surprise appearance, to her unexpected life abroad, Anne's story is intriguing, sometimes sad, funny, and sometimes happy. I would expect that anyone who's ever had a premie, or anyone who's lived abroad, would especially enjoy her story, but to the rest of us, it's still a good read.
I was just lamenting that it had been awhile since I read a truly good book, when I picked up An Innocent, A Broad by Ann Leary. What a fabulous book! I couldn't put the book down once I started. Ann Leary is a terrific, no-nonsense writer. She is humorous and sarcastic, able to poke fun at herself at a very serious time of her life. I laughed out loud several times while I was reading it. I recommend it for anyone - but especially for parents, who will reflect on their own experiences with a newborn, especially a preemie.
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