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Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood

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A memoir of parenthood by poet Hollie McNish. There were many things that Hollie McNish didn't know before she was pregnant. How her family and friends would react; that Mr Whippy would be off the menu; how quickly ice can melt on a stomach. These were on top of the many other things she didn't know about babies: how to stand while holding one; how to do a poetry gig with y A memoir of parenthood by poet Hollie McNish. There were many things that Hollie McNish didn't know before she was pregnant. How her family and friends would react; that Mr Whippy would be off the menu; how quickly ice can melt on a stomach. These were on top of the many other things she didn't know about babies: how to stand while holding one; how to do a poetry gig with your baby as a member of the audience; how drum'n'bass can make a great lullaby. And that's before you even start on toddlers: how to answer a question like 'is the world a jigsaw?'; dealing with a ten-hour train ride together; and how children can be caregivers too. But Hollie learned. And she's still learning, slowly. Nobody Told Me is a collection of poems and stories taken from Hollie's diaries, one person's thoughts on raising a child in modern Britain, of trying to become a parent in modern Britain, of sex, commercialism, feeding, gender and of finding secret places to scream once in a while.


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A memoir of parenthood by poet Hollie McNish. There were many things that Hollie McNish didn't know before she was pregnant. How her family and friends would react; that Mr Whippy would be off the menu; how quickly ice can melt on a stomach. These were on top of the many other things she didn't know about babies: how to stand while holding one; how to do a poetry gig with y A memoir of parenthood by poet Hollie McNish. There were many things that Hollie McNish didn't know before she was pregnant. How her family and friends would react; that Mr Whippy would be off the menu; how quickly ice can melt on a stomach. These were on top of the many other things she didn't know about babies: how to stand while holding one; how to do a poetry gig with your baby as a member of the audience; how drum'n'bass can make a great lullaby. And that's before you even start on toddlers: how to answer a question like 'is the world a jigsaw?'; dealing with a ten-hour train ride together; and how children can be caregivers too. But Hollie learned. And she's still learning, slowly. Nobody Told Me is a collection of poems and stories taken from Hollie's diaries, one person's thoughts on raising a child in modern Britain, of trying to become a parent in modern Britain, of sex, commercialism, feeding, gender and of finding secret places to scream once in a while.

30 review for Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    I was really nervous going into to read this. Nobody Told Me: Poetry & Parenthood, is a chronicle of three years and nine months of poet Hollie McNish life. From finding out she was pregnant in Kings Cross Station on the way to Glastonbury. “Three hours staring at three test” To her daughter first day of pre-school, and everything in between. I’m not a mum, nor do I have the drive to be. But this book spoke to me in so many ways. I have learnt so much while being thoroughly and enjoyably enterta I was really nervous going into to read this. Nobody Told Me: Poetry & Parenthood, is a chronicle of three years and nine months of poet Hollie McNish life. From finding out she was pregnant in Kings Cross Station on the way to Glastonbury. “Three hours staring at three test” To her daughter first day of pre-school, and everything in between. I’m not a mum, nor do I have the drive to be. But this book spoke to me in so many ways. I have learnt so much while being thoroughly and enjoyably entertained. The book offers an immediate, unfiltered insight into McNish’s life, and into her experience of motherhood. Written in moments at “4am, on the loo, in hospital, at work, interrupted by cries, screams, laughs…..mostly written on the floor of my Little Ones’s bedroom as she slept.” McNish describes it as “All the things I couldn’t talk about.” The poet records her guilt, pain, wonder, exhaustion, frustration, joy, anger and love. There’s no photo-shopping here. Nobody Told Me offers an insight into the shared, unspoken experiences of many mothers. Reflecting on and holding a mirror up to, culture, stereotypes and societies pressure put on pregnancy and parenthood. It touches on the judgement of teenage mothers, we can sexualise teens but low behold they have sex and be pregnant. The fear of race culture, Hollies partner loves being with there Little One cause he goes from “Young, Black Male to Sling-Carrying Male, or Dad”. And the prejudice she encounters for having a mixed race child. “Did you always go for Dark skin/No I went for him” And for the part that I found most enjoyable and true. The shame and prudishness, hidden behind putting a finger on your clit during child birth for pain relief. Hollie confesses to being, “sat and pretending I was a Buddha and secretly pressed my palm to my clit to distract the nerves from the pain in the rest of my body” Most would sexualise this, as we do everything else (don’t even get me started on breast feeding, brilliantly covered in the book) but Hollie speaks the truth, it’s a logical pain relief at times. I have learnt so much from Nobody Told Me, that I would never learn anywhere else, it lives up to it’s title. For instance, did you know that, Bounty saleswomen are allowed into the hospital ward straight after birth, when family is not. “My dad couldn’t visit and friends couldn’t pass by/to see the new mum and dad proud/ and that’s fine, I don’t mind, until two hours past labour/our hospital door was pushed open/and sales representatives from Bounty or something/strolled in with a bag full of potions.” CRAZY! It’s honest, and on the spot writing as she goes through every cut and curve of pregnancy, birth and parenthood. This moving, emotive, sometimes silly and profoundly personal account. Shows you Hollie, as she sees culture and the world, a fresh through her Little Ones Eyes. I could go on and wax lyrical about this all day, but please just read it for yourself, and prepare for the raw energy and passion of Hollie’s very personal poetic voice. P.S. Page 44, the poem Hollow…broke my heart a little. Thank You for the truth Hollie.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    It's like all my own thoughts were articulated perfectly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    It's impossible to convey how much I love this book! Every new parent should read this book. Hollie is able to put into words every emotion I have felt since my daughter was born 15 months ago but which I am not eloquent enough to express myself. I wonder if my brain chemistry has fundamentally changed since becoming a mum because I would never have dreamed of reading a book combining memoir and poetry before she was born but this was now the perfect book for me and I can't remember enjoying a b It's impossible to convey how much I love this book! Every new parent should read this book. Hollie is able to put into words every emotion I have felt since my daughter was born 15 months ago but which I am not eloquent enough to express myself. I wonder if my brain chemistry has fundamentally changed since becoming a mum because I would never have dreamed of reading a book combining memoir and poetry before she was born but this was now the perfect book for me and I can't remember enjoying a book this much in years. Everyone should read this book, especially new and expectant mothers (and their partners if they wish to be able to understand what it's like for the woman!). Thanks so much to Hollie McNish for writing this book and helping support mothers of all ages to process the overwhelming emotions which come with becoming a parent for the first time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Polly Sands

    What a great book. Not just poetry but a bit of a memoir of those years where your life changes forever. As a Mum, midwife, festival goer, breastfeeder (in years gone by), woman, sadly not poet, this is an essential book. I am now recommending it above all accessible baby books, normally I don't recommend them at all so this is high praise. One mate who I told about it who is 5 months pregnant got the audiobook which sounds like it would be even better, as anyone who seen Hollies videos will und What a great book. Not just poetry but a bit of a memoir of those years where your life changes forever. As a Mum, midwife, festival goer, breastfeeder (in years gone by), woman, sadly not poet, this is an essential book. I am now recommending it above all accessible baby books, normally I don't recommend them at all so this is high praise. One mate who I told about it who is 5 months pregnant got the audiobook which sounds like it would be even better, as anyone who seen Hollies videos will understand. She is just so real, funny and clever and an advocate for so many, reflecting on her own experiences, the experiences of people around her and reflecting on the relative ease in which we live compared to people struggling around the world. Go get it/ go see her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barbora Kraml

    I have to say I have a soft spot for McNish, I saw her performing in Edinburgh a couple of years ago, and she was so amazing! I love how honest she is - open about all her emotions, and struggles. The poems are fun, optimistic, they often rhyme (I especially love her for this), but most importantly they have a message. McNish has a lot to say, and the way she says it - she just makes you listen.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I don't often read books of poetry but this one really got it right.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book was so good I cried multiple times whilst reading it. Hollie McNish just captures emption so purely and so simply it’s seemingly effortless

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I laughed, I cried, I pondered a lot. Loved it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    Thanks Hollie for reminding me how hard it is looking after a baby and young child. You write so eloquently and from the heart, it really brought back to me the ups and downs of parenthood. As a mother whose children are all now adults I had forgotten such a lot of the difficulties; now having been reminded I feel better prepared to help and support my daughter as she becomes a parent. I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a lovely read with raw emotion and some beautiful poems. However Thanks Hollie for reminding me how hard it is looking after a baby and young child. You write so eloquently and from the heart, it really brought back to me the ups and downs of parenthood. As a mother whose children are all now adults I had forgotten such a lot of the difficulties; now having been reminded I feel better prepared to help and support my daughter as she becomes a parent. I would recommend this book to anyone as it is a lovely read with raw emotion and some beautiful poems. However I think in particular it would be very helpful for parents and grandparents embarking on the great adventure of bringing a child into the world~ Hollie expresses beautifully so many experiences that we will all share and help us to know we are not alone!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy Alice

    I loved this so much! Not only empathy wise but politics wise. Just so poignant and relevant and beautiful. Getting my own copy to come back to over the years!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lestat

    Was handed this book for work, ostensibly because I like poetry. I was excited till I read the opening blurb - this was about a new mum and her journey. Crikey! How wrong an audience I was for this book. McNish mixes memoir with poems charting the moment she found out she was expecting, through to her child being three years old. That's a lot to pack into a single novel. Despite its length, this book is a quick and easy read. Most poems start with an intro - some long, others short - recounting Was handed this book for work, ostensibly because I like poetry. I was excited till I read the opening blurb - this was about a new mum and her journey. Crikey! How wrong an audience I was for this book. McNish mixes memoir with poems charting the moment she found out she was expecting, through to her child being three years old. That's a lot to pack into a single novel. Despite its length, this book is a quick and easy read. Most poems start with an intro - some long, others short - recounting an incident or incidents that led to her writing it. The trouble is, most of what is written in prose is restated in the poem, which negates the need for one or the other. There are a few poems thrown in without context, and they feel... out of place. What the book needed was a firm editor. At the outset the author mentions that her poems have not been edited - well, that's not how a book should be published. No matter how personal the story, readability is important. And in this case, some of the poems felt superfluous because we had already been told what the issue was. Some of the poems were also too long, harping on about the same thing while not moving the story forward. As someone who knows and cares not for parenting, I cannot comment on what kind of parents the author and her partner are. They seem to have most things going well for them - putting in their own efforts to make life as easy as possible. Her partner is extremely supportive, which was a pleasure to read. In fact, I felt like he could have been even more involved. It's important to know that people out there can share parenting responsibilities and not begrudge each other much. Especially given England's hideous way of looking at gender (this issue isn't only confined to England, but has gained prominence and has snowballed into a royal mess) it is important to see that some measure of equality can still be found for some people. The author also touches on several global issues that come into focus when she is about to become a mother - including the effect of war and conflict on women and mothers. She writes a few poems regarding the same topic, rescinding her own complaints in line with what these women must suffer. She's not overly hard on herself for wallowing in occasional misery, yet has a holistic enough view of the world to give the other side a thought. She also has to deal with racism. Only part way through the book did it dawn on me that her partner is black; and she deals with some of the issues that he faces on a daily basis. Again, the trouble is, most of this information is handed out to us in the form of regular prose; we don't interpret it through her poetry. It is such a mixed bag, that I'm surprised her editors didn't decide to tighten it up a fair bit. It reads much like a bunch of diary entries, which would be all right if there wasn't poetry thrown into the mix. Had each chapter started with an intro and then delved into the subject in detail through the poems, it may have been a better read. Her free verse poems were inconsistent, sometimes difficult to get into for sheer lack of rhythm. It's her style, perhaps, so I can't knock it. It just made it difficult to read. I'm sure when she's performing them, she knows exactly when to pause. These poems are not meant to be read, but heard, I suppose. While I may be the wrong audience for this book, it gets a very optimistic message across. There's an air of happiness and joy surrounding the incidents recounted, even the ones that get you riled up because old British courtesy appears to have gone out of the proverbial window, and it's nice to read something happy once in a while.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Pate

    I am a huge Hollie McNish fan. From the first time I saw her perform live, which was nearly two years ago now, I felt a strong connection to her words and her beliefs; just to her - as a poet, as a person. I have read this book slowly; savouring every morsel. Soaking it in. I know that it will be a book that I gift to many people; new mothers, parents of toddlers, women I love. I hear Hollie's voice as I read her words. She is that voice of realism that lets us know that we are not alone. Tha I am a huge Hollie McNish fan. From the first time I saw her perform live, which was nearly two years ago now, I felt a strong connection to her words and her beliefs; just to her - as a poet, as a person. I have read this book slowly; savouring every morsel. Soaking it in. I know that it will be a book that I gift to many people; new mothers, parents of toddlers, women I love. I hear Hollie's voice as I read her words. She is that voice of realism that lets us know that we are not alone. That other mums have felt a little bit crap at parenting sometimes, that others have struggled to breastfeed, that others have felt judged. This book is simple and beautiful, and real. I think you should read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Everybody should read this, from teenage boys to grandmas. Nobody Told Me is a testament to the experience of motherhood, from the small and seemingly-mundane details that surprised Hollie to the pointed articulation of how motherhood and existence in a world not designed for you is fundamentally political. Her introspection, as well as her observations about her family and the people she interacted with, cut away the veneer of lovey-dovey-ness that surrounds motherhood in particular, and become Everybody should read this, from teenage boys to grandmas. Nobody Told Me is a testament to the experience of motherhood, from the small and seemingly-mundane details that surprised Hollie to the pointed articulation of how motherhood and existence in a world not designed for you is fundamentally political. Her introspection, as well as her observations about her family and the people she interacted with, cut away the veneer of lovey-dovey-ness that surrounds motherhood in particular, and becomes more beautiful for expressing how shit she sometimes found it. Everybody can relate, and I certainly learned a lot, because it's a book about ignorance and love and fear and family and so much more love. This book made me laugh a lot and cry a lot. I'm not a mother, and have no desire to be one anytime soon, but that doesn't matter. In fact, the friend I've recommended it to most recently is a close friend also aged 20. I think he'll love it. And now I need to go and hug my mum.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan Austin

    Loved the honesty of this book. I was impressed at how dedicated she must have been to write through the harrowing stages of pregnancy and early parenting (when sleep deprivation makes it so hard) and it's so great to have this kind of account and in-the-moment reflection on some of the issues that arise, many of which I could totally relate to. It left me regretting not doing more writing in the early years of having my kids, but oh well my circumstances are different and we do what we can. Som Loved the honesty of this book. I was impressed at how dedicated she must have been to write through the harrowing stages of pregnancy and early parenting (when sleep deprivation makes it so hard) and it's so great to have this kind of account and in-the-moment reflection on some of the issues that arise, many of which I could totally relate to. It left me regretting not doing more writing in the early years of having my kids, but oh well my circumstances are different and we do what we can. Some of the poems are just lovely and it's inspiring to see how she writes about the details of her relationship with her child and others. At the same time I like how she articulates opposition to gender stereotyping, racism, anti-breastfeeding attitudes and how she explains through her own experience just how hard so many day-to-day aspects of parenting are. A refreshing read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Sawyer

    I'm glad I didn't read this book while pregnant because the first 100 pages would have terrified me! Hollie McNish gives a very honest account of pregnancy and early motherhood, which, when sprinkled with fantastic poems, really tugs on your heartstrings. For prospective or current mothers, I am sure it is utter perfection, but as a non-broody 23-year-old right now, perhaps I am not the best target audience. Nevertheless, I can see how her honesty is inspirational and offers great comfort to wom I'm glad I didn't read this book while pregnant because the first 100 pages would have terrified me! Hollie McNish gives a very honest account of pregnancy and early motherhood, which, when sprinkled with fantastic poems, really tugs on your heartstrings. For prospective or current mothers, I am sure it is utter perfection, but as a non-broody 23-year-old right now, perhaps I am not the best target audience. Nevertheless, I can see how her honesty is inspirational and offers great comfort to women.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel McKeown

    I am a little bit in love with Hollie McNish and her words. She has such an ability to sum things up and express ideas, emotions and incidents so succinctly that it leaves me speechless for a few minutes sometimes. Because I'm left thinking - 'Yes! That's exactly what I think/thought/feel/felt/was going to say' This book is perfect for anyone embarking on pregnancy or motherhood or reflecting back on the first few years particularly.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Philippa

    Everyone should read this. Parents, people who want to be parents, and people who don't want to be parents. Those who are and do will feel some solidarity and understanding, those who don't will have their ignorance smashed to smithereens. After reading this book you'll never think 'why would you bring a child on a train at peak hour?' ever again. Hollie's voice is mesmerising, raw, vulnerable, honest, and full of joy. I applaud her and her bravery.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katy Chessum-Rice

    Having heard Hollie perform live as I started to read the book, I could hear her voice in the poems - which are fantastic! Gives a wonderfully fresh and unflinching perspective on pregnancy and motherhood, you go through the highs and lows with her. I recommend that you look up her performances of her poetry on You Tube. Powerful stuff.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jane Burnett

    It is wonderful that such a brilliant mum, such a decent human being with insight and honesty has such a talent with words. Poems that stay with you long after the book is finished. A book to revisit time and time again.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mugren Ohaly

    The diary entries were interesting and I didn't like any of the poems.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I had a hunch this book would be a cracker and so it was. Everybody and her dog seems, it sometimes feels, has written a book about what becoming and being a mother (or parent) is really like, and someone being a professional writer doesn't always, or even often, shape the language into something I find less obnoxious and worrying for the future. But the blend here of prose and poetry shows what prose can do, what poetry can do (and different sorts of poetry, some that need to be performed some I had a hunch this book would be a cracker and so it was. Everybody and her dog seems, it sometimes feels, has written a book about what becoming and being a mother (or parent) is really like, and someone being a professional writer doesn't always, or even often, shape the language into something I find less obnoxious and worrying for the future. But the blend here of prose and poetry shows what prose can do, what poetry can do (and different sorts of poetry, some that need to be performed some that don't) without feeling that the experiences and thoughts described are being moulded by the forms and the words rather than the other way round. I like that she takes the book all the way through to her daughter's third birthday. You never feel (as I too often do reading other accounts) that this is a book written to fill maternity or paternity leave, official or unofficial. McNish seems to have no chips on her shoulder - to have been raised secure in love and this lends the work a refreshing directness. I'd really rather people read this book than 97% of others from considering parenthood and after. She's wrong in her poem about breastfeeding vouchers, because she's looking in the wrong place, and because she is seeing "we don't seem to be getting anywhere better with this, we need to try something different and see if it works" (ie research) as "we are sure this is all it takes". The vouchers are not for the women themselves, of course they are not going to make a woman who doesn't want to breastfeed try or keep a desperate woman from giving up, and of course women need intelligent support but all the rest of her work here shows that we need to work on showing the rest of the world, those close in and wider, that this has value. I know vouchers seem at best seriously cringe makingly naff (and I wouldn't like to be the one who thought them up, even if the long term evidence eventually suggests they work brilliantly), but she has some eloquent, horrifying poems showing the commercial forces in play in childrearing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Raquel

    «Nadie me dijo que no podías usar papel higiénico Nadie me dijo que podías sangrar Nadie me dijo que tal vez necesitarías un lugar secreto desde el que poder gritar.» ❤ Reseña completa en mi blog. Link en bio 💕 Hay libros sobre los cuales es difícil hablar sin encadenar su historia con la nuestra. Libros escritos desde dentro de las entrañas que cuando salen fuera despliegan sus tentáculos y nos atrapan entre sus líneas, como si estuviesen hablando de nosotras mismas, como si nos estuviesen leyendo el «Nadie me dijo que no podías usar papel higiénico Nadie me dijo que podías sangrar Nadie me dijo que tal vez necesitarías un lugar secreto desde el que poder gritar.» ❤️ Reseña completa en mi blog. Link en bio 💕 Hay libros sobre los cuales es difícil hablar sin encadenar su historia con la nuestra. Libros escritos desde dentro de las entrañas que cuando salen fuera despliegan sus tentáculos y nos atrapan entre sus líneas, como si estuviesen hablando de nosotras mismas, como si nos estuviesen leyendo el pensamiento, y, lo que es aun más emocionante, como si hubiesen mirado por un agujerito en la pared cómo hemos sido nosotras o cómo seguimos siendo. ❤️ Si en muchos libros se confunde autora con protagonista (este no es el caso pues el libro es claramente autobiográfico), en «Nadie me dijo» la confusión va mucho más allá y afecta a autora y lectora. Ay, si hubiese leído este libro cuando estaba embarazada, o cuando regresé a casa del hospital y ya no éramos dos sino tres, o cuando un día, harta de esconderme, en un ejercicio que para mi fue todo un acto de valentía, decidí dar el pecho a mi hijo en un restaurante para así yo también poder comer, o cuando me miraba en el espejo y esa supuesta felicidad que todo el mundo decía ver en mí se convertía en ojeras, cara de cansancio o un cuerpo que no reconocía aún como mío. Si lo hubiese leído entonces... pero lo he leído ahora y nunca es tarde porque puedo recomendarlo a mis futuras amigas embarazadas y, y esto me encanta, porque con él he recordado unas emociones que aun perviven en mí y he sacado de su escondite otras que había dejado de lado. ❤️ Un libro absolutamente recomendable que junto a «Nudo materno» de Jane Lazarre forma parte de mi bibliografía básica de #MaternidadesLit. Gracias a @carmengdelacueva @la_alfaia y @dallowayediciones Por permitirnos disfrutar de esta #joyita #Nadiemedijo #HollieMcNish #Crearycriar #Amaryamarse #Cuidarycuidarse

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tim Regan

    I loved this book. It is a book of real opposites: it made me laugh and cry, it filled me with joy and with anger, it is deeply personal and also political. Hollie takes us through from discovering that she's pregnant on route to a poetry performance at Glastonbury festival right through to when her daughter is three years old. I love the form too, it is written as diary entries which somehow develop into poems. McNish warns us that these poems are raw and unworked and they are, some of them are I loved this book. It is a book of real opposites: it made me laugh and cry, it filled me with joy and with anger, it is deeply personal and also political. Hollie takes us through from discovering that she's pregnant on route to a poetry performance at Glastonbury festival right through to when her daughter is three years old. I love the form too, it is written as diary entries which somehow develop into poems. McNish warns us that these poems are raw and unworked and they are, some of them are terrible and some are beautiful and touching. That acceptance of the unfinished only adds to the immediacy of the book. This is a very female book, it is mostly about womanly trials and tribulations and when it is about men it forefronts the female perspective, but because of that it is a great read, regardless of your sex. Real insights abound in this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Belinda Carvalho

    Really enjoyed Holly McNish's beautiful, sensitive, honest reflections on parenthood. She writes with real soul, found myself so moved by a few sections, she really examines how our society treats mothers and fathers, boys and girls, race and other issue BUT I found it tediously long (465 pages, all 3 years of her daughter's youth) and that additional length really affected my enjoyment of the brilliant parts. I think this could have been carefully edited into a short & snappy book on the fi Really enjoyed Holly McNish's beautiful, sensitive, honest reflections on parenthood. She writes with real soul, found myself so moved by a few sections, she really examines how our society treats mothers and fathers, boys and girls, race and other issue BUT I found it tediously long (465 pages, all 3 years of her daughter's youth) and that additional length really affected my enjoyment of the brilliant parts. I think this could have been carefully edited into a short & snappy book on the first year of parenthood, with one poem at the end of each chapter or it could have been written as a book of essays. Format didn't work for me at all.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Smith

    This book is a diary of pregnancy and the first three years of Hollie's daughter's life, interspersed with poems on the topic of parenthood inspired at this time. I love the honestly with which Hollie writes and she puts down so many of the thoughts I had at this time, but articulates them so much better than I could. As well as dealing with the day to day challenges of parenting, Hollie also examines bigger issues such as gender and why we force gender roles on children at such a young age. I l This book is a diary of pregnancy and the first three years of Hollie's daughter's life, interspersed with poems on the topic of parenthood inspired at this time. I love the honestly with which Hollie writes and she puts down so many of the thoughts I had at this time, but articulates them so much better than I could. As well as dealing with the day to day challenges of parenting, Hollie also examines bigger issues such as gender and why we force gender roles on children at such a young age. I loved this book for both it's poetry and prose.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hayley DeRoche

    This is the loveliest piece on motherhood I've ever read. I expect this to be the loveliest piece on motherhood I ever WILL read, at that. Bar, set. I listened to this over the course of two days in my car, and I have never laughed or cried so much all alone, not even when I had an infant I couldn't fucking breastfeed very well, so basically, I CRIED A LOT LISTENING TO THIS OKAY. In a good way. In a cleansing way, I mean damn. My heart basically got shredded and sewn back together with this subli This is the loveliest piece on motherhood I've ever read. I expect this to be the loveliest piece on motherhood I ever WILL read, at that. Bar, set. I listened to this over the course of two days in my car, and I have never laughed or cried so much all alone, not even when I had an infant I couldn't fucking breastfeed very well, so basically, I CRIED A LOT LISTENING TO THIS OKAY. In a good way. In a cleansing way, I mean damn. My heart basically got shredded and sewn back together with this sublime little book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    A beautifully moving account of parenthood in poetry and prose. It manages to perfectly capture the conflicting emotions of having a child, the love and awe as well as the struggles with lack of sleep, the loss of autonomy, and the new pressures it puts on your other relationships. I laughed and I cried, and it has made me excited for each new stage of my daughters life. Definitely one for all new and expecting parents.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hayley Gullen

    This is absolutely wonderful. It made me cry 10 pages in. It's honest, entertaining, deeply moving and thoughtful. It covers the inconveniences and frustrations of parenthood, but also expresses its deep, intangible joys. The author also covers politics and social justice in relation to being a mother, which I really appreciated. Her world certainly hasn't shrunk as a mother; it's expanded. I very much hope for the same.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hazel

    I picked this book up after watched the YouTube video of ‘Embarrassed’ and it was brilliant! I loved it! Although the subject is obviously pregnancy and parenthood, I am not a parent and absolutely loved the social commentary and the honesty of experience. Also, plus point - I thought it was going to be a standard wee poetry book and it was a really good length, long book!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dancingsocks

    It’s almost impossible to rate this book. I’ve seen her perform live a couple of times and love her, and I can hear her voice reading the book to me. It’s taken me months to read it - I’ve had to spread it out a bit to not get annoyed, although I’m not sure what was annoying me. Some of the poetry is splendid. Some I don’t like so much. Always interesting though.

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