There are guides to every aspect and every angle of parenthood-from prenatal to post-college-yet none tells us what couples really and truly feel once confronted with the awesome power of Nature's Course. The Three of Us does.
Seasoned travelers, successful professionals, Joanna Coles and Peter Godwin arrived in Manhattan ready to make it their oyster-she to be the New York correspondent for a major British newspaper, he to pursue his prize-winning career as a writer and journalist. Of course they were self-absorbed; why come to New York, if not to explore every avenue of self-interest? The news that Joanna is pregnant, however, causes a massive shift in paradigm. Suddenly they are launched unsteadily but irrevocably toward an altogether new New World.
Like a series of mental ultrasounds, The Three of Us consists of alternating diary entries in which, day by day and month by month, Peter and Joanna navigate the uncharted waters of impending parenthood. There is much to discuss-the pros and cons of raising a child in a neighborhood frequented by transvestite prostitutes, for example-yet their reactions are not always on the same page; male and female panic about the Joyous Event, as we learn, can differ sharply. But every parent-to-be, every parent-that-is, will recognize and rejoice in the wonderful, terrible, and sometimes hilarious anxieties that attend the building of a nest. The Three of Us is a candid, refreshing, and reaffirming memoir about coming to terms with a new life.
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Joanna Coles is the New York correspondent for the London Times. This is her first book. Peter Godwin is the author of Mukiwa, A White Boy in Africa, which won the George Orwell Prize, and writes forNewsweek, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine. They live in New York with their son, Thomas.
Funny and often acerbic, this diary in alternating voices chronicles one well-connected British couple's pregnancy, set against the backdrop of life among the media elite in New York City. Coles, a correspondent for the London Times, and Godwin, author of the award-winning memoir Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, start their New York life in a loft in the trendy downtown meat-packing district, taking forays to hip restaurants, elegant social events and an East Hampton rental they consider somewhat shabby. While the 30-something authors are candid about their feelings about impending parenthood, as well as about their search for a sympathetic doctor and hospital, Coles's physical changes and the details of labor and delivery, there is little tension in the story beyond the initial surprise of the pregnancy and the occasionally pointed comments of pushy Americans about the authors' unmarried state. In what may be an attempt to paint a vivid picture of the New York melting pot, the authors intently pinpoint the races and nationalities of nearly everyone they meet (e.g., Margarita, the Ecuadorian cleaning woman; a Pakistani newspaper vendor). But they give little depth to these and other incidental characters, making the use of broad categorizations insensitive and jarring. When they look for a new apartment, Coles and Godwin adopt New York "real estate fever" only to comment warily on being "nudged right up against the ghetto" in their new Upper West Side digs. Closing with the safe delivery of a son, Thomas, this superficial chronicle does not have much to contribute to pregnancy literature. While it will probably garner some media coverage in New York and the Northeast, it will strain mightily to elicit interest from readers beyond the islands of Manhattan and Great Britain. Agent, Gil Coleridge (U.K.). (Nov.)
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002571021