This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Emma Straub on Miscarriages and Chocolates for Breakfast

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 10:31 AM

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Writer Emma Straub has a beautiful piece about her miscarriage up on the The Millions today—about how when she found out she was pregnant in the same week she sold her novel, she took it as a sign from the universe, that some "sentimental sentient being knew how long it had taken for me to sell a novel (almost 10 years) and was making up for it by giving me a baby in a flash." And then she had a painful miscarriage, and spent the next two years trying to get pregnant again, and now that she's pregnant enough to feel comfortable talking about it, she's written a really fantastic essay.

Straub, author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, also wrote the forward to a recent rerelease of Pamela Moore's 1956 novel Chocolates for Breakfast, a controversial-for-its-time coming-of-age novel about a young woman experimenting with sex and booze in Manhattan and LA. It's a fast, enjoyable read, full of parties and martinis and cab rides through New York with boys from Yale, though the expectations set up by the forward and the blurbs on the back are a bit too high. The dialogue can be quite clunky, and it suffers from Straub's comparison, in the forward, to Elaine Dundy's far superior novel The Dud Avocado, another semi-recent rerelease of a 1950s novel about a headstrong young American woman, though Dundy's book is set in Paris. (Seriously, if you haven't read it, do yourself a favor—it's impossible not to enjoy. My copy long ago drifted away because my friends wouldn't stop borrowing it and loaning it to other people.)

Moore killed herself in 1963, and Chocolates for Breakfast was rereleased thanks to the efforts of Moore's son, Kevin Kanarek, with the help of Straub herself. The Rumpus has a good interview with Kanarek about his mother's suicide, getting the book published, and how, when he saw that recent godawful Vice magazine photo spread about dead women writers, he was "relieved that Pamela wasn’t famous enough to be included."

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