BookBrowse Reviews Flesh & Blood by N. West Moss

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Flesh & Blood

Reflections on Infertility, Family, and Creating a Bountiful Life: A Memoir

by N. West Moss

Flesh & Blood by N. West Moss X
Flesh & Blood by N. West Moss
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  • Published:
    Oct 2021, 320 pages


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About this Book



A surprisingly funny and candid memoir about illness, infertility and what it means to live a full life.

N. West Moss is an award-winning writer of essays and short stories. Our First Impressions reviewers gave her memoir Flesh & Blood an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

What the book is about:

After three miscarriages and a hysterectomy followed by a relapse, N. West Moss struggles to adjust to the reality of infertility...Her healing and eventual acceptance take many forms and lead Moss to uncover much about her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, even as she contemplates being the end of their lineage (Laura C). N. West Moss was brave to write this book, which is partly an account of her illness, surgery and recovery, and partly a memoir in which she keeps alive the stories of her Grandmother Hastings, whom I found to be a delightful character (Julia A). A straightforward account of her miscarriages and underlying disease, leading to surgery, supplemented by musings on nature, life/death, religion and ancestry, with humorous — often hilarious — thought waves breaking through it all (Gwen C).

Readers appreciated the author's honesty about a subject that is often treated as taboo…

This book deals with the reality of the physical symptoms of heavy and ongoing menstrual bleeding, something usually not discussed, hidden and considered taboo for open discussion (Barbara O). On a personal note, I had to have a hysterectomy years ago, three years before I married. Moss's journey, so honestly and poignantly shared, is unlike anything I've ever read before on the subject (Laura C). Moss has a wonderful, straightforward way of telling us her story, the trials and distress of her problem, and her successful recovery (Marion C).

…along with her beautiful, poetic writing.

The beautiful, literary-quality writing illuminates a book about a woman experiencing heavy bleeding and having a hysterectomy (Jean B). Ms. Moss is a beautiful and poetic writer (Sarah M). I especially liked the poetic flavor that rose to the surface of the book (Gwen C).

Reviewers warned that some medical descriptions are quite graphic…

Readers should be aware that the descriptions about excessive bleeding are graphic (WDH). I hope the author will use her extraordinary talent with different subject matter. I think many possible readers will be lost because of the graphic descriptions (Jean B).

...but pointed out that this is balanced by the book's uplifting and humorous qualities.

I have to admit, it took me a while to pick up this is not my usual genre and I was afraid I could not relate or would be overwhelmed with sadness. Instead it felt as though I was on a weekend retreat with a friend I had lost touch with years before, where I could be encouraged and uplifted by her self-awareness, confidence and vulnerabilities as she leisurely told me of her experiences while we shared a cocktail (Barbara P). Although much of the content is serious, the author has a sense of humor, and some sections are quite funny (Sarah M)! Moss's self-deprecating humor, droll wit and positive attitude ultimately make this an uplifting memoir (Laura C).

Readers suggested that Moss's memoir may be especially useful for those seeking comfort and healing, but could easily appeal to anyone.

Many readers may be comforted by the message of both strength and vulnerability that can accompany healing from any loss (Deborah C). The author turns her energy from nurturing children to nurturing a life that blesses herself and those she loves. She uses the written word to pass down her history and vivid memories of loved ones and I felt enriched by hearing her tales. Ms. Moss's love of nature was beautifully described. After reading this memoir, I felt like I had been on a healing journey with her. I will be recommending this book to my book club and anyone I come in contact with that enjoys reading (Catherine O).

This review first ran in the October 20, 2021 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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Beyond the Book:
  Books That Address Infertility


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