Read this: Half-Baked

I love Alexa, and I’ve been a fan of her blog, Flotsam, since I found it. Back then, five long years ago, she was not yet married, not yet undergoing IVF, not yet mourning the loss of her son Ames, not yet dealing with the premature birth of her daughter Simone.

A lot’s happened to Alexa in the past five years.

Having followed her life in real time, I was looking forward to reading her book, but honestly, I kind of thought I’d be reading a lot of stuff I already knew about. Alexa is a singularly charming writer, and I knew I’d enjoy it, mind you. But part of me hesitated, because it was about pregnancy and babies and I’m done with all that. Then the more intelligent part of me purchased the book, because after all, this was Alexa. Duh.

I expected a diverting read, but I was blown away. Half-Baked is really, really good. I knew how it ended, I knew all the high points and low points along the way, and I was still mesmerized. I started reading on Sunday and I was finished by Tuesday. I read it every chance I could get. I lost sleep so I could read more. Sleep is my favorite thing to do, and I gave it up, for Alexa.

In a lot of ways, Half-Baked is a much more intimate look at what Alexa and her husband Scott went through than her blog was. Which makes sense: I can imagine that writing in the moment, especially when your child is in such a precarious state, you might not give voice to your darkest fears; you’re conscious of your audience and their expectations; you have to soldier on, and you’re distracted and exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s only afterward that you can look back and fully describe what you went through. And I’m so glad she did.

In short, this book is in no way a retread of her blog: it’s funny, it’s sad, and it’s gripping. I was so annoyed to find this in the “Pregnancy and Childcare” section of Barnes and Noble that I refused to buy it there. This is a memoir, and a first-rate one at that.