Aileen Weintraub’s memoir of digging up her Brooklyn city roots and replanting them in rural upstate New York reveal the uneasy first chapters of a marriage that most people would be too timid to reveal. After moving into the old and somewhat dilapidated house where her husband grew up and that his grandfather built, she is faced with the challenge of looking at the same decades-layered, wall-papered walls for five months, eighteen weeks into her pregnancy. Forced to her bed for five months, this author demonstrates the courage and strength that self-reliant women occasionally need to be passive—to let go of her desires to decorate the nursery, attend baby-labor classes and connect with other mothers—and instead give herself over to the care of her husband to protect her baby in utero. The frustration of yearning for basic structures like a floor you can walk on and walls that have been plastered clash with the good-enough attitudes of the inexpensive workers they hire and lead to hilarious and demoralizing tales of home ownership. She writes in such a humanizing way (she knew she had married her husband for his “keen powers of observation” when he declares the reason the tractor got stuck in the muddy grass was because the ground was too wet) that we can laugh with her without laughing at him.
With refreshing, raw honesty and humor she writes what most people only think in the privacy of their own heads. This book is one big speech bubble of the thoughts in Aileen Weintraub’s head that are so universal to women.