Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2020
From the daring Peruvian essayist and provocateur behind Sexographies comes a fierce and funny exploration of sex, pregnancy, and motherhood that delves headlong into our fraught fascination with human reproduction.
Women play all the time with the great power that's been conferred upon us: it's fun to think about reproducing. Or not reproducing. Or walking around in a sweet little dress with a round belly underneath that will turn into a baby to cuddle and spoil. When you're fifteen, the idea is fascinating, it attracts you like a piece of chocolate cake. When you're thirty, the possibility attracts you like an abyss.
Gabriela Wiener is not one to shy away from unpleasant truths or to balk at a challenge. She began her writing career by infiltrating Peru's most dangerous prison, going all in at swingers clubs, ingesting ayahuasca in the Amazon jungle. So at 30, when she gets unexpectedly pregnant, she looks forward to the experience the way a mountain climber approaches a precipitous peak.
With a scientist's curiosity and a libertine's unbridled imagination, Wiener hungrily devours every scrap of information and misinformation she encounters during the nine months of her pregnancy. She ponders how pleasure and pain always have something to do with things entering or exiting your body. She laments that manuals for pregnant women don't prepare you for ambushes of lust or that morning sickness is like waking up with a hangover and a guilty conscience all at once. And she tries to navigate the infinity of choices and contradictory demands a pregnant woman confronts, each one amplified to a life-and-death decision.
While pregnant women are still placed on pedestals, or used as political battlegrounds, or made into passive objects of study, Gabriela Wiener defies definition. With unguarded humor and breathtaking directness, Nine Moons questions the dogmas, upends the stereotypes, and embraces all the terror, beauty, and paradoxes of the propagation of the species.