March 24, 2006

Book Review: No Kidding

Last year, when I was searching for books on the subject of “childfree” I was pleasantly surprised to get at least 20 nonfiction books on the subject, and this one work on fiction kept cropping up.
No Kidding by Wendy Tokunaga
The cover intrigued me, but I decided that I had to read a few feminist/nonfiction first to get really grounded on “what’s already out there” before I write my book, Purple Women™.

An interesting side affect of my purposeful reading is that I get angry, or perhaps indignant is more accurate when dealing with this subject matter. When reading accounts of how pan-american institutions and doctors have treated women’s fertility issues over the years (Barren in the Promised Land by Elaine Tyler May (1995)-- it’s hard to not have some sort of reaction. I had never heard of the word eugenics before. Eugenics is compulsory sterilization. Who knew that reading a chapter could bring on PMS-like symptoms? My husband has noticed this too because I don’t usually walk around with a dark cloud over my head. That’s just not me.

My strategy to combat this is to read something light, maybe a short story in between. No Kidding by Wendy Tokunaga (2000) fit the bill this time. I was delighted that her story takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, the place I call home. I knew the cities and streets and wineries traversed by the lead character, one Ms. Audrey Mills who works at a high tech company in, you guessed it – Silicon Valley.

To sum it up, we start out with our heroine in the wrong relationship, comfortable if not committed, and when he goes all “suburban” on her she gets cold feet. It helps her clarify what she wants and because of her age, she is starting to get pressure from all around her (taking the form of a manipulative mother and serial baby showers at the office) on the not-too-private subject of settling down and having kids. Those two things go together, right? Not. It was fun to see her make the journey to Mr. Right and finding her passion all in one book. If only life were that simple. I’ve always been a sucker for happy endings.


twiga92 said...

Oh, good! I have this book on my shelf to be read. Thank you for the review. I look forward to reading it. I'm actually currently reading "I'm Okay, You're a Brat" by Susan Jeffers so will try to post a review when I'm finished.

ChrisR said...

On the serious side - people who claim that science and history aren't subjective (usually people attacking 'postmodernism') just need to look at the medical profession's understanding of and interest in women's sexual health. If it wasn't so sad, it'd be a joke.

Oh, and eugenics isn't just forced sterilisation, it's a pseudo science that allows you to treat people as 'defective' and remove their life choices. At various points in history 'defective' has covered women, non-white people, the rural poor, Jews ....