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No One Should Get Pregnant Alone
ISBN 13: 978-1-933538-12-0; ISBN-10: 1-033538-12-0
By Elaine D. Fox

Review by: Delores Duboise 

01/01/07

When I read the first few pages of Elaine D. Fox's No One Should Get Pregnant Alone (Austin, TX: TurnKey Press, 2006), I was put off by what I read as dismissal of women's issues in humorously-intended interjections. However, by the time I reached the eighth of forty chapters, I decided I liked this woman narrator. I had selected the book to read from its title, hoping it was about a pregnant woman who was truly without a male partner. Although Fox's central woman character, Emily Vance, is married and financially situated well enough that she can decide to stay home with her child even though her husband is somewhat reluctant, she reaches for an audience of women who have not been able to conceive with their partner. Her semi-autobiographical novel educates readers about the expensive and difficult process of artificial insemination in a more comprehensive manner than any clinics brochure would ever be able to achieve. Fox details the process, including the emotions of Vance, her husbands reaction, and the physical process involved. Although some readers may wish for more awareness of contemporary social gender issues, Fox is best when she says it straight, concentrating on the emotions and unadorned reactions, without trying to mitigate or contextualize. Readers can reflect on the gender issues for themselves.

Fox also reaches an audience of mothers of young children through tackling other common problems that face women. She writes about being ignored socially as a stay-at-home mother and the desire for some relief from motherhood's demands. She tells us equally frankly about the young husbands resistance to what he sees as his wife's obsession with getting pregnant and with motherhood. Emily Vance is quick to express her feelings to her family, ready to confront her husband or sister with her needs, and equally willing to work through the problems caused by her impatient insistence on speaking and acting out these needs. She doesn't rationalize the sometimes self-absorbed emotions she sets loose on those closest to her, and this is why I like her. Although the story ends with Vance ready to share the result of her positive pregnancy test with her husband, Fox does not leave the impression that everything will, of course, work out. She has not sugarcoated the difficulties of the young marriage, and readers do not feel certain that the couple will in fact get through the raising of two children with their love intact. We assume that Vance's father, absent from her book after a chapter describing a period of convalescence following surgery, may not have lived; and we know that Vance's husband has difficulty accepting her mothers desire to help the young couple financially. Vance's relationship with her sister withstands but barely the assault of Vance's readiness to strike out; and Vance's best friend has outlasted her husbands affair but never summoned the courage to confront him. In short, Fox has managed to enough of the difficulties of the lives of her characters that she manages to be real. She should keep her willingness to let her woman characters and their circumstances be less than perfect, to voice what real women and men feel, and to let them act as real people do.

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Elaine Fox lives in Gurnee, Illinois, with her husband and three children. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Fox worked in the corporate world but left it to become a mother. No One Should Get Pregnant Alone is her first novel; it draws autobiographically from her own difficulties in conceiving her first child and her deep desire to be a mother.   

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