A Better Woman

A Memoir of Motherhood

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Acclaimed novelist Susan Johnson found, at age thirty-five, that her desire to have a baby became overwhelming. She had no inkling what motherhood would cost -- or give -- her. But as she went on to experience pregnancy and birth, and their impact on her marriage, health, and heart, she recorded it all. In this hauntingly lovely account, Johnson portrays a woman transformed by motherhood, and a writer forever changed by a widening chasm of experience. Her initial ecstasy jostles against bewilderment, rage, and despair, however, when she develops a rare complication of childbirth; she is "a one-woman catastrophe, a small ruined country." She is also burning to get words on paper. The result, A Better Woman, should be required reading for every woman hungry to give birth -- and every mother yearning to have her deepest feelings heard.
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Book Details:
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743440097 | 
  • May 2010
List Price $16.99

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Getting Ready to Fall

When we are green, still half-created, we believe that our dreams are rights, that the world is disposed to act in our best interests, and that falling and dying are for quitters. We live on the innocent and monstrous assurance that we alone, of all the people ever born, have a special arrangement whereby we will be allowed to stay green forever.

Tobias Wolff,

This Boy's Life


The year that I turned thirty-five, my arms began to feel empty. I remember a moment when I was sitting behind my lover in a car driving through France, staring at the back of his head. Everybody in... see more

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