Books Magazine

Book Review: Night Sweats by Laura Crossett

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

Book: Night Sweats: An Unexpected Pregnancy by Laura Crossett
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Laura Crosett
Publication date: 2013
Pages: 93

cover of Night Sweats by Laura CrossettSource: Purchased from Lulu: Night Sweats: An Unexpected Pregnancy (also available as an ebook from the usual shops)

Summary: Night Sweats reads like a diary because it was originally a series of blog posts by the author written for a small group of family and friends about a pregnancy that she neither expected or wanted. This is a deeply personal look at pregnancy from the initial test, through the agonizing early decisions and physical changes, to the birth. Laura Crossett touches on liberal, even radical, politics along with events of the liturgical year at her church and many other things that make her life complicated and her thoughts complex and layered.

Thoughts: I don’t think I’ve met Laura, but it feels like I have. We were part of a cohort of librarians around the world who explored every social media platform as it came out in the mid-2000s. She was my partner when I demonstrated online-chat for the first time to staff members at Washington University Libraries. When I asked her to tell them where she was chatting from, she typed that she was in the tiny town of Meeteese, Wyoming. I literally saw jaws drop in the room.

Now, Laura lives in Iowa City, Iowa, my favorite college town. I loved the little glimpses of it that I got through her book.

As a woman who never had children, I enjoyed sharing an experience of someone who expected that to be her life, too, but at age 35, ended up with something different. Even more, and unexpectedly, I liked the glimpses I got of Laura’s religious life that are so different from mine, currently, and yet so familiar — like this passage after setting up her first Christmas tree:

But I suppose I did want a tree this year because it somehow signifies that this is our home, that I am invested enough in this place to buy lights and store ornaments from year to year. Tonight I also set up the olive wood creche set that my mother gave me. It’s right by the tree, and Mary and Joseph and the angel and the shepherd and some cattle and sheep are already there. The wise men and their camel are on top of one bookshelf, and they’ll slowly make their way toward the scene till they arrive at Epiphany. I couldn’t figure out what to do with the Baby Jesus until Christmas, so I put him in my jewelry box. It still seems rather cruel, keeping him away from everyone. Surely someone has made a creche with a pregnant Mary and then a postpartum Mary with the baby Jesus? But for now he will have to wait separately as his earthly parents wait for his arrival, as I wait for the arrival of my own son. p. 78

Appeal: This slim volume is a bargain as an e-book (I got it in print because, some day, I hope to get it signed) and would make a wonderful thought-provoking read in the season of Advent.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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