Don't be fooled by the goofy title of Melissa Fay Greene's memoir No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
; this book ought to come with a "Tissue Advisory" label affixed to its cover. Warning: there will be tears.
Perhaps Greene was paying homage to Erma Bombeck when she chose the title; the "hassled mother" humor book has had a long and robust history, peopled by the likes of Jeanne Kerr (Please Don't Eat the Daisies
), and Shirley Jackson (Life Among the Savages
). But what Greene describes in her account of adopting five international children as her four biological children began to leave the nest is hard-hitting, riveting, emotional stuff. She explores the family dynamics that lead to interest in adoption, the changes adoption brings on parents and children alike, and the glue - call it family culture or family values - that holds them all together...
Beyond the Book
In the New Yorker
review of Melissa Fay Greene's debut book, Praying for Sheetrock
(1991), James Lardner writes, "Greene's achievement recalls Jane Austen's description of her novels as fine brushwork on a 'little bit (two inches wide) of ivory'...." Greene is a gifted journalist with a novelist's eye for detail, and the four award-winning books that have preceded No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
are constructed around memorable, finely drawn characters and carefully observed settings.
Praying for Sheetrock
(1991) examines the culture of McIntosh County, a tiny, rural locale on...