Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pg. 69: "Waiting for Daisy"

Peggy Orenstein is the author, most recently, of the memoir, Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, An Oscar, An Atomic Bomb, A Romantic Night and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother.

I invited Peggy to put her new book to the "page 69 test;" here is what she reported:
Of course, on getting your email I promptly looked at p. 69 of my book. Does it represent the book? Yes and no. The through-line of the book is my struggle to decide whether I want to be a mother and then my struggle to become one. On p. 69 I'm deep in the thicket of infertility treatments. So to that extent, it is representative. And that page has a dash of the humor that is, I think (hope), reflective of the book’s tone. On the other hand, I've gone to great lengths -- quite literally in the case of the book's subtitle -- to signal that this book isn't ONLY about infertility, that it's about many things, like my first true love, who, with his wife, now has fifteen kids (yes, fifteen, and yes, she gave birth to all of them). Or the so-called “parasite single women” whom I met in Tokyo. It's about the near-unraveling of a loving marriage and it's about a kind of obsession that can grip anyone: one in which you find yourself doing everything you never thought you'd do to get something you hadn't even realized you'd wanted. I'm not sure all that can be reflected in ANY one page of the book, but it's intriguing to try….

Here is p. 69. It begins and cuts off mid-sentence; the few extra words from pp. 68 and 70 are in brackets:

[Neither nun pee nor hamster ovaries came cheap:] three vials injected morning and evening plus another drug to suppress my natural cycle ran over $350 a day--the same as I’d spent in an entire month doing IUI with Risa. A girl could buy a lot of shoes with that kind of scratch.

In addition to the familiar side effects of Clomid, the injectable drugs bumped up the likelihood of twins or triplets to 30 percent. That gave us pause. On one hand, it would be a bargain: two for the price of one, an instant family. Steven, whose siblings were each about a year apart, kind of liked
the idea of our kids being the same age. On the other hand, he also recalled seeing a friend about six months after becoming the father of twins: "They had extinguished the light from his eyes," Steven said. "He looked like a well-dressed character from Night of the Living Dead." In the end we convinced ourselves that while we would surely be in the 30 percent who succeeded in getting pregnant, we wouldn't be in the 30 percent of that group who had twins. Numbers, I was learning, are funny that way.

I had practiced giving injections on an orange. Let me tell you something; your thigh, cellulite aside, is nothing like an orange. For one thing, it feels pain. For another, it's yours. The first night I meticulously laid out my supplies: alcohol wipes, the vials of powdered medication, the sterile water to dilute them, and two syringes, one for each drug. I twisted a long, thick needle onto the first syringe, and, snapping the glass tops off the vials (using gauze to avoid cutting my fingers) I drew up some water, squirted it into the first vial of powder, and gently swirled until it dissolved. Drawing the mixture up, I repeated the process with the next vial and the next. I changed to another needle, about a half-inch long, tapping the syringe briskly until all the air bubbles [disappeared.]
Many thanks to Peggy for the input.

Read the prologue and "The Ticking Point," an adaptation from Waiting for Daisy.

Among the praise for the book:
"Intimate, funny/sad and remarkably self-revealing."
-- Kirkus (starred review)

“The story of author Peggy Orenstein’s struggle with infertility is riveting, but what really makes her memoir such a compelling read is her refreshing honesty about the complicated emotions many women face on the path to motherhood.”
­-- Parenting Magazine

“Orenstein’s nakedly honest account of her decision at age 35 to have a baby and her ensuing struggle to do so reads like a detective thriller.”
-- Elle Magazine, winner of “Elle Lettres” readers’ prize, February 2007

"An absolutely wonderful book. I couldn't put it down: it reads as easily and yet with as much texture as a novel. As always, Orenstein, is both so smart and so human as she tells her story -- and ours, too -- about her marriage, career, indecision, breast cancer, and whether or not she can, and wants to, and ought to, get pregnant. Sometimes the writing is wrenching, sometimes very funny, but always profoundly honest and engaging."
-- Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions

"Moving and bittersweet, Waiting for Daisy is as funny, thoughtful, biting, reflective, as filled with fruitful self-doubt and cautious exuberance, as its author."
-- Michael Chabon, The Adventures of Kavelier and Clay

"Add to the best literature of motherhood Peggy Orenstein's searing account of her six-year quest to have a child. The story of what she put her body through is beautifully and movingly rendered, but it's her honesty in examining her own mind and heart that make Waiting for Daisy such a courageous and unforgettable book. I was enthralled."
-- Ann Packer, The Dive from Clausen's Pier
Peggy's previous books include Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Kids, Love and Life in a Half-Changed World and the best-selling SchoolGirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap.

Check out these links to selected articles by Peggy in major periodicals.

Visit Peggy Orenstein's official website.

Previous "page 69 tests:"
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, My Year Inside Radical Islam
Mark Coggins, Candy from Strangers
Arthur Allen, Vaccine
Beth Ann Fennelly, Great with Child
Kenneth Gross, Shylock Is Shakespeare
Trinie Dalton, Wide Eyed
Barbara J. King, Evolving God
Patrick Anderson, The Triumph of the Thriller
Linda R. Hirshman, Get to Work
Lynne Tillman, American Genius, A Comedy
Patrick Radden Keefe, Chatter
Dana Stabenow, A Deeper Sleep
Siobhan Roberts, King of Infinite Space
Erin McKean, That's Amore!
Michael Lowenthal, Charity Girl
Niraj Kapur, Heaven's Delight
Keith Dixon, The Art of Losing
David Edgerton, The Shock of the Old
Mary Sharratt, The Vanishing Point
David Fulmer, The Dying Crapshooter's Blues
Anya Ulinich, Petropolis
Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization
Olen Steinhauer, Liberation Movements
Andrei Markovits, Uncouth Nation
Julie Kistler, Scandal
Robert Ward, Four Kinds of Rain
Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist
William Landay, The Strangler
Kate Holden, In My Skin
Brian Wansick, Mindless Eating
Noria Jablonski, Human Oddities
Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity
Neal Pollack, Alternadad
Bella DePaulo, Singled Out
Steve Hamilton, A Stolen Season
Eric Klinenberg, Fighting for Air
Donna Moore, ...Go to Helena Handbasket
Louis Bayard, The Pale Blue Eye
Neal Thompson, Riding with the Devil
Sherry Argov, Why Men Marry Bitches
P.J. Parrish, An Unquiet Grave
Tyler Knox, Kockroach
Andrew Rehfeld, The Concept of Constituency
Laura Wiess, Such a Pretty Girl
Jeremy Blachman, Anonymous Lawyer
Andrew Pyper, The Wildfire Season
Wendy Werris, An Alphabetical Life
Laura Lippman, What the Dead Know
Meghan Daum, The Quality of Life Report
Scott Reynolds Nelson, Steel Drivin' Man
Richard Aleas, Little Girl Lost
Paul Collins, The Trouble With Tom
John McFetridge, Dirty Sweet
Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero
Bill Crider, Murder Among the OWLS
Zachary Shore, Breeding Bin Ladens
Rolf Potts, Vagabonding
Matt Haig, The Dead Fathers Club
Lawrence Light, Fear & Greed
Simon Read, In The Dark
Sandra Ruttan, Suspicious Circumstances
Henry Ansgar Kelly, Satan: A Biography
Alison Gaylin, You Kill Me
Gayle Lynds, The Last Spymaster
Jim Lehrer, The Phony Marine
Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.
Debra Ginsberg, Blind Submission
Sarah Katherine Lewis, Indecent
Peter Orner, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo
William Easterly, The White Man's Burden
Danielle Trussoni, Falling Through the Earth
Andrew Blechman, Pigeons
Anne Perry, A Christmas Secret
Elaine Showalter, Faculty Towers
Kat Richardson, Greywalker
Michael Bess, Choices Under Fire
Masha Hamilton, The Camel Bookmobile
Alex Beam, Gracefully Insane
Nicholas Lemann, Redemption
Jason Sokol, There Goes My Everything
Wendy Steiner, Venus in Exile
Josh Chafetz, Democracy’s Privileged Few
Anne Frasier, Pale Immortal
Michael Lewis, The Blind Side
David A. Bell, The First Total War
Brett Ellen Block, The Lightning Rule
Rosanna Hertz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice
Jason Starr, Lights Out
Robert Vitalis, America's Kingdom
Stephen Elliott, My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up
Colin McGinn, The Power of Movies
Sean Chercover, Big City, Bad Blood
Sigrid Nunez, The Last of Her Kind
Stanley Fish, How Milton Works
James Longenbach, The Resistance to Poetry
Margaret Lowrie Robertson, Season of Betrayal
Sy Montgomery, The Good Good Pig
Allison Burnett, The House Beautiful
Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History
Ed Lynskey, The Dirt-Brown Derby
Cindy Dyson, And She Was
Simon Blackburn, Truth
Brian Freeman, Stripped
Alyson M. Cole, The Cult of True Victimhood
Jeff Biggers, In the Sierra Madre
Jeff Broadwater, George Mason, Forgotten Founder
Alicia Steimberg, Andrea Labinger (trans.), The Rainforest
Michael Grunwald, The Swamp
Darrin McMahon, Happiness: A History
Leo Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism
David Nasaw, Andrew Carnegie
Leah Hager Cohen, Train Go Sorry
Chris Grabenstein, Slay Ride
David Helvarg, Blue Frontier
Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria
Bill Crider, A Mammoth Murder
Robert W. Bennett, Taming the Electoral College
Nicholas Stern et al, Stern Review Report
Kerry Emanuel, Divine Wind
Adam Langer, The Washington Story
Michael Scott Moore, Too Much of Nothing
Frank Schaeffer, Baby Jack
Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior
Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov
Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew
Cass Sunstein, Infotopia
Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden
Paul Lewis, Cracking Up
Pagan Kennedy, Confessions of a Memory Eater
David Greenberg, Nixon's Shadow
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue