Author: N. West Moss
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Book Description: Honest, warm, and witty, this memoir reads like a chat with a dear friend sharing her insight and her vulnerabilities and taking us along as she heals. Complete with family stories over cocktails and a new friend named Claude, who happens to be a praying mantis.
“I drive and say to myself, if I am dying, if this is how I die, then this is how I die.” When N. West Moss finds herself bleeding uncontrollably in the middle of a writing class, she drives herself to the hospital. Doctors are baffled, but eventually a diagnosis—hemangioma—is determined and a hysterectomy is scheduled. We follow Moss through her surgery, complications, and recovery as her thoughts turn to her previous struggles with infertility, to grief and healing, to what it means to leave a legacy.
Moss’s wise, droll voice and limitless curiosity lift this beautiful memoir beyond any narrow focus. Among her interests: yellow fever, good cocktails, the history of New Orleans, and, always, the natural world, including the praying mantis in her sunroom whom she names Claude. And we learn about the inspiring women in Moss’s family—her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother—as she sorts out her feeling that this line will end with her. But Moss discovers that there are other ways besides having children to make a mark, and that grief is not a stopping place but a companion that travels along with us through everything, even happiness.
With public figures like Chrissy Teigen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaking out about infertility recently, women are eager for voices that acknowledge their struggles. Fans of Lena Dunham, Leslie Jamison, and Jenny Lawson—along with readers of medical memoirs like When Breath Becomes Air and The Bright Hour—will find that connection in Moss’s Flesh & Blood.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: This is a gut wrenching memoir of a woman discussing her issues with fertility. When this memoir begins, Moss is taking a course at a college she teaches at. She is bleeding uncontrollably and drives herself to the hospital. She is given a diagnosis that involves having a hysterectomy.
Moss than tells her story interwoven of her fertility issues she has had over the years with her husband and her extra long recovery from this surgery which she does not hide any details.
This is very a very candid account and to be honest very hard to read at times. However, this is such an important book not only about these very common health issues, but about relationships with spouses and in the case mothers.
Thank you NetGalley and Algonquin Books for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.