Author: Pamela Erens
Lore arrives at the hospital alone—no husband, no partner, no friends. Her birth plan is explicit: she wants no fetal monitor, no IV, no epidural. Franckline, a nurse in the maternity ward—herself on the verge of showing—is patient with the young woman. She knows what it’s like to worry that something might go wrong, and she understands the distress when it does. She knows as well as anyone the severe challenge of childbirth, what it does to the mind and the body.
Eleven Hours is the story of two soon-to-be mothers who, in the midst of a difficult labor, are forced to reckon with their pasts and re-create their futures. Lore must disentangle herself from a love triangle; Franckline must move beyond past traumas to accept the life that’s waiting for her. Pamela Erens moves seamlessly between their begrudging partnership and the memories evoked by so intense an experience: for Lore, of the father of her child and her former best friend; for Franckline, of the family in Haiti from which she’s exiled. At turns urgent and lyrical, Erens’s novel is a visceral portrait of childbirth, and a vivid rendering of the way we approach motherhood—with fear and joy, anguish and awe.
So, let's skip to the end first: GRAPHIC. Like the level of those old videos you watched in health class. Ugh *shudders*.
Things I liked most:
- Frankline's backstory
- The scene in the hallway when Lore sees the painting
- Lore's baby's name: Soleil
Thins I liked least:
- Whole book was one chapter
- Very little dialogue
- Those stupid pages that aren't even, but scalloped
- The graphic birth scene
Overall I would recommend because of the character depth. I think the point of this book is not to explore birth and children and motherhood, but to explore all of those little moments and decisions that get us to places we never expected to be. So as a character study it was fantastic. As a moving work of fiction, not so much.
And honestly? I like the idle thought Lore had about her and Julia (old girlfriend baby daddy cheated on Lore with) being together would be better than her and Asa (the baby daddy).