Speed Reading

Pub date June 25, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionLiterature


By Andrea Askowitz

Cleis Press

241 pages


My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy is a bracingly frank and exhaustively detailed tour of lesbian single-motherhood, written as a more or less straightforward journal of the weeks leading up to conception and birth. It’s funny and addictive — author Andrea Askowitz spares few of the details one might hunger for, from her selection of a donor to her doctor’s-office conception to her quest to get laid in the third trimester. Alongside the pregnancy, she chronicles a messy, lingering breakup with her lover Kate, her nonprofit’s struggle to stay afloat, and haunting memories of her best friend Robin, whose fatal cancer was discovered after a pregnancy.

Sharp-tongued Askowitz maintains her wicked sense of humor throughout, feeding the reader deliciously bitchy one-liners as she navigates pregnant Los Angeles, with its doulas, prenatal acupuncturists, and support groups ("I walk out terrified I’m just like these women. Please, no. They seem so happy."). She observes her own neuroses and midnight freak-outs just as lucidly, and we’re grateful for the recognition that it’s not just her no-show friends making her miserable and lonely.

By the end, however, Askowitz’ relentless self-involvement, the source of much of the book’s humor, begins to wear thin. What’s missing is a connection to something larger that transcends the sometimes funny but often repetitive whining. While it could serve as a warm, honest resource on the little-explored subjects of sperm donation and home birth, My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy ends up reading a little like a long and tiresome sick note.