In the conversations Sarah Menkedick has with new mothers, it becomes clear that the relationship between motherhood and fear is a cycle propelled by isolation and shame. Menkedick’s book itself, though, offers a sort of ad-hoc community of and for mothers.
I love my son in a way that is so deep and fierce to be fundamentally at odds with the assumption that I’d be careless with him. I would breastfeed the devil, appease the wolf. But I know that even if I do, I am powerless against so much.
After having children, the always-baffling allure of a commune began to make a bit more sense. I had a daughter and was pregnant with my son when the media began reporting on refugees dying while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, and when my outlook on American policy became nihilistic.
The best piece of writing I’ve ever read about The Catcher in the Rye is Charles D’Ambrosio’s “Salinger and Sobs.” The essay is about D’Ambrosio’s brother’s death by suicide and about the underlying threat of suicide that runs through so many of Salinger’s stories.