Book Talk: Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood by Christa Parravani
“ Haunting, wild, and quiet at once. A shimmering look at motherhood, in all its gothic pain and glory. I could not stop reading.”
―Lisa Taddeo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Three Women
About the Book
A stressed family, an unplanned pregnancy, and a painful, if liberating, awakening from the author of the lauded memoir Her.
Christa Parravani was forty years old, in a troubled marriage, and in bad financial straits when she learned she was pregnant with her third child. She and her family were living in Morgantown, West Virginia, where she had taken a professorial position at the local university.
Haunted by a childhood steeped in poverty and violence and by young adult years rocked by the tragic death of her identical twin sister, Christa hoped her professor’s salary and health care might set her and her young family on a safe and steady path. Instead, one year after the birth of her second child, Christa found herself pregnant again. Six weeks into the pregnancy, she requested an abortion. And in the weeks, then months, that followed, nurses obfuscated and doctors refused outright or feared being found out to the point of, ultimately, becoming unavailable to provide Christa with reproductive choice.
By the time Christa understood that she would need to leave West Virginia to obtain a safe, legal abortion, she’d run out of time. She had failed to imagine that she might not have access to reproductive choice in the United States, until it was too late for her, her pregnancy too far along.
So she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Keats. And another frightening education began: available healthcare was dangerously inadequate to her newborn son’s needs; indeed, environmental degradations and poor healthcare endangered Christa’s older children as well.
Loved and Wanted is the passionate story of a woman’s love for her children, and a poignant and bracing look at the difficult choices women in America are forced to make every day, in a nation where policies and a cultural war on women leave them without sufficient agency over their bodies, their futures, and even their hopes for their children’s lives.
Reviews & What Readers Say
“ [Parravani] dissects the complexity of choice, how our own trauma and relationships inform it, as well as policy and access. She reveals the cost to us all when we fail to openly personalize the politics of abortion in America."
―The New York Times Book Review
“ Achingly personal. . . . [Parravani reveals] the ways in which the American health care system denies women agency over their own bodies and their children's futures."
“ From the guts. Parravani takes her life in hand and confronts the institutions and attitudes that oppress her and countless women just like her. . . . Parravani's narrative is an American story. It doesn't just hit close to the bone; it reveals the skeleton."
―Los Angeles Review of Books
“ Intimate, affecting. . . . A candid, personal look at the political and cultural forces shaping women’s lives."
Henry Holt and Co
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Christa Parravani is the bestselling author of Her: A Memoir. She has taught at Dartmouth College, UMass Amherst, SUNY Purchase, and West Virginia University, where she served as an Assistant Professor of Creative Nonfiction. She earned her MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Newark.