Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

Expecting Adam: a true story of birth, rebirth, and everyday magic 
by Martha Beck
Berkley Books, 2000
Trade paperback, 328 pp
Genre: Nonfiction - Memoir

John and Martha Beck had two Harvard degrees apiece when they conceived their second child. Further graduate studies, budding careers, and a growing family meant major stress--not that they'd have admitted it to anyone (or themselves). As the pregnancy progressed, Martha battled constant nausea and dehydration. And when she learned her unborn son had Down syndrome, she battled nearly everyone over her decision to continue the pregnancy. She still cannot explain many of the things that happened to her while she was expecting Adam, but by the time he was born, Martha, as she puts it, "had to unlearn virtually everything Harvard taught [her] about what is precious and what is garbage."
After reading the description on the back of the book (above) I thought I would really love this book. But I didn't.

Although Martha Beck's voice sounds genuine, she came across as whiny to me. I realize she was struggling with a difficult pregnancy which she later found out was because of an immune disorder. Her husband's job took him to Asia for weeks at a time which left Martha to care for their toddler daughter on her own, adding more stress and responsibility. But still, she was whiny. For the duration. While pregnant, she also  experienced a number of unexplained spiritual encounters. She called them her "puppeteers."

When, through prenatal testing, she learned that the child she was carrying had Down Syndrome, she became even more "woe is me." She was given her options, and chose to continue carrying the baby.

She spoke frequently of her fear of what others would think of her retarded son, but I think her biggest obstacle was herself. She often referred to her unborn son as "damaged."

Her writing is good but I didn't find it especially funny let alone "frequently hilarious" as the blurb on the front cover said. Maybe a chuckle or two, but again, not hilarious.

Worth your time? Sure. A lot of folks gave this book rave reviews. I didn't hate it. I finished it. Just a bit disappointed. I was expecting more from Expecting Adam.

Talk to you soon,

P.S. First book for my Where are you Reading? Challenge. Woo Hoo.


  1. Bummer. It sounds good. Great honest review.

  2. I really enjoyed your honest review! The story sounds like it has potential, but I am sorry it wasn't all that you wanted it to be. Nice cover!

    1. Thanks, Stephanie. That's so nice of you to say. It's great to see you :)

  3. Great review, but I'm sorry this book disappointed you.

    1. Thank you, Yvonne. It wasn't horrible, like I said, a lot of people liked it.


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