Eugene Weekly : Books : 6.12.08

Hard Knocked-Up Life
Pregnancy sucks. Got that?
by Suzi Steffen

MY MISERABLE, LONELY, LESBIAN PREGNANCY, memoir by Andrea Askowitz. Cleis Press, 2008. Paperback, $14.95.

Let me make one thing clear: I didn’t hate this book the way The (Seattle) Stranger’s Jen Graves did. She so loathed Askowitz’s account of those precious nine preggo months that when Graves’ review was posted on The Stranger’s blog (, it elicited this comment: “I am sick to death of people writing about pregnancy, childbirth, and children like we all are the first fucking generation of people on this planet who’ve ever given birth.”

Well, there’s that problem with the book. The book’s blurb describes the contents as “whiny, all-too-real.” Yeah. Whiny can be charming, of course, when written well.

There’s just enough self-awareness and self-deprecation in Askowitz’s book to keep a motivated reader going. It needs more. Lord knows, I feel like I’m letting my people down by not liking a book by a lesbian, a book that even has lesbian in the title. But the whiny lesbian parts of it — including bits where apparently Askowitz doesn’t know any other pregnant or expecting queer folks (Hello? Gayby boom?) — also grate. Pregnant lesbians? That’s simply not new. Whiny wealthy mommas? Ditto. (Graves nails this point.)

Good pitch, mediocre  product: Cleis Press should have asked for a rewrite. But hey, the book is kind of fun, and Askkowitz’s “Misery Loves Company tour” provides a chance for the LGBT community to meet up and celebrate queer writing. If only it were better.   

The Misery Loves Company tour comes to the World Café at 7 pm Wednesday, June 18. Sally Sheklow and Tobi Hill-Meyer back up Askowitz with readings from their own work. Free. 


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