Motherhood by Sheila Heti


From the author of How Should a Person Be? (“one of the most talked-about books of the year”—Time Magazine) and the New York Times Bestseller Women in Clothes comes a daring novel about whether to have children.In Motherhood, Sheila Heti asks what is gained and what is lost when a woman becomes a mother, treating the most consequential decision of early adulthood with the candor, originality, and humor that have won Heti international accla...

Details Motherhood

Release DateJun 7th, 2018
PublisherHarvill Secker
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Feminism, Parenting, Womens

Reviews Motherhood

  • Jenna
    First, the context that I am a big fan of “plotless fiction” as well as autobiographical fiction a la Ben Lerner – so this combined with my particular stage of life makes me the ideal reader for this book.I could not stop reading it once I started. I feel like the conversation that Sheila is having with herself and the characters in this novel is a conversation that no one else is having and it's a book that many young women need, even thou...
  • Leo Robertson
    LOVED this one!A hilarious, poignant and honest account of one woman's dithering over what might be the most important decision of her life—but hang on, why HER life and not HIS? Why important, even? And so on, encapsulating an encyclopaedic collection of questions and considerations on the theme of becoming a mother.It's so funny because I'd assumed these were stupid questions, or questions that surely must be posited and answered in some body...
  • Michelle Hart
    "There is a kind of sadness at not wanting the things that give so many other people their life's meaning. There can be sadness at not living out a more universal story--the supposed life cycle--how out of one life cycle another cycle is supposed to come. But when out of your life, no new cycle comes, what does that feel like? It feels like nothing. Yet there is a bit of a let-down feeling when the great things that happen in the lives of others-...
  • Tao
    My blurb for Sheila Heti's novel:"I deeply enjoyed Sheila Heti's fractal, meticulous, and twinklingly self-aware book—in which every part seemed to know, and be informed by, every other part—about art and time and change and books and babies. Motherhood synergistically functions both as an intimate, moving, autobiographical novel and as a practical, mysterious, five-year tool used by its protagonist to help her contemplate and answer central ...
  • Krista
    Whether I want a kid is a secret I keep from myself – it is the greatest secret I keep from myself. Motherhood is billed as a novel but reads like a diary; recording all of the uncertainty and changes of heart of Sheila Heti's unnamed narrator (like Heti herself, a Toronto-based writer approaching forty) as she tries to figure out if she wants to give birth before her unwinding biological clock renders the decision-making process moot. Being of...
  • Heath
    Though I really could have done without that part where the narrator rhapsodizes about how she wishes that she was gay, so that she could announce publicly to everyone who she is. Made me want to announce to the narrator just how I wish I had a book deal, so I could announce just how I am.
  • Corinne Keener
    The book itself is readable. I personally relate to the central question of whether or not to become a mother and that's what initially interested me in it. However, it often felt that her explorations were completely reductive of women in general. I also question whether this book is even a novel. It's almost completely without a plot or characters, there is essentially no development.It just did not work for me.
  • Katherine
    I'll add more later, but I wanted to get a short review out now: I liked this book, and I thought it was a low blow that the reviewer for the New Yorker concluded by calling Heti "childish." (Especially after leading with the fact that she's ten years younger.) What does that word even mean? Is it childish to take oneself seriously?I bring this up partly because I'm genuinely curious about what it is about Sheila Heti that pushes people's buttons...
  • Gretchen
    I decided I had had enough of this self-absorbed, wheel-spinning First World Problems book when the author said she felt jealous of gay men (why gay men only I don't know) for getting the experience of coming out, because it means they knew what they wanted and had occasion to let the rest of the world know. The preceding 130 pages were similarly lacking in perspective and empathy, which hollowed out so much of the truly interesting concerns that...
  • Molly
    this year I’ve encountered mores misses than hits. There’s no doubt Heti is a talented writer but I found this painful as it dragged on. I feel like it could have been a long form New Yorker piece instead? I do wonder if I didn’t connect because I am not personally conflicted with the central question of whether to be a mother but I am interested in how the pressure of being a mother or not being one affect women in our current culture. Als...
  • Bud Smith
    Real good.
  • Julene
    I couldn't finish this; maybe it's me? I'm burned out on tales of women who miss New York, don't want to breed, and constantly battle a low level dislike of their partners.
  • Karenclifford61
    DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU ARE ALREADY CONVINCED THAT YOU WANT CHILDREN - - on the other hand, if you are on the fence, this book is for you!Where was this author 35 years ago? This book is for those (like me) that grapple with whether motherhood is really for them, or perhaps wondered if it's a social norm that is expected to be followed. For decades I questioned the existence of a biological clock and applied many of the same arguments mentio...
  • Sara Leonard
    I have to admit, I read the first 30 pages of this book believing it was a memoir. That's how deeply personal and intimate Heti's novel feels. The lines are blurred between author and narrator, and the questions posed in between coin tosses seem to be borrowed from every woman's mind. The narrator, on the edge of 40, grapples with the decision of becoming a mother in the face of the world's expectations, wondering what a woman can be without chil...
  • Sarah
    This one gutted me, turned me inside out and upside down and then righted me again. It's a brutal read, so honest and vulnerable and there were so many times when I felt the author in my BRAIN. I have never read a book about the choice of becoming a mother that ran so close to my own thoughts, at the same time it was wildly different from my own experience; I bookmarked dozens of passages and returned to them over and over. I set it down for days...
  • Carmen Petaccio
    "In my dream last night, I was looking at my breasts in a mirror. They were hanging so low on my body--at the level of my belly button. I was crying, depressed about them hanging so low. I cried out, in tears, My breasts are too low! Then I looked at them closer, and saw there were five nails in each breast, and that my breasts were actually hoofs, and the reason they hung so low was so that I could use them to walk."
  • Jenn
    There are no answers in this book, but there is comfort in knowing you're not alone.
  • Annie
    spiritual sequel to How Should a Person Be in many ways. Sheila is my fav! She organizes the book to the ovarian cycle which is extremely my shit.
  • Allison
    It was a luxury to follow her spinning narrative. A mind on paper.
  • Alushka Trnka
    Heti says some insightful things about maternal lineage and suffering, and a few about romantic relationships as well. But Motherhood also felt like a slow therapy session that had me waiting for the book to start until I finished it.
  • Monica
    I really wanted to love this book but instead I found it totally self-indulgent.
  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    via my blog:'The question of a child is a bug on the brain- it’s a bug that crawls across everything, every memory, and every sense of my own future. How to dislodge that bug? It’s eating holes in everything there ever was or will be. Nothing remains intact.'Motherhood reads nothing like a novel, in fact I felt like I was having a conversation with many different women in a sense. I found myself thinking...
  • Holly LaDue
    One of my favorite books of the year so far. Felt like Heti or the main character was inside my brain untangling my own complicated thoughts on parenthood, motherhood, relationships, and work. This book is about so much more than to have a child or not to have a child. Loved every page of it.
  • Desiree
    I think I'm just realizing that this was a novel and not a memoir - whoops. Either way, this was a poignant read that had me underlining quotes all over the place. So many of the narrators' questions and doubts about motherhood resonated with me as I approach the period in life when people generally start having kids- will I regret having them, will I regret not having them, am I cut out to have them, etc. Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada fo...
  • Dan
    The middle felt a bit repetitive but it finished on a strong note. I love Heti's philosophical style. her deep examination of unresolvable questions rings true to how we grapple with life's biggest decisions (and indecisions). In that sense, the repetitive nature of the book makes sense, even if I found it a bit tiresome. For me the central theme in the book was how much motherhood — and by extension so much more of our lives — is dictated by...
  • Stefani
    Where to start with this book? As much as I despise the motherhood debate that's been having a “moment” ever since editors realized that articles scaring and/or demonizing women for their reproductive choices were pure, unadulterated clickbait, I can appreciate a well-reasoned, logical argument for and, more importantly, against, the decision to become a mother (Lord knows, we certainly have enough people arguing for the other team).I can fir...
  • A.M. Thomas
    Personal notes on Sheila Heti's Motherhood.Written on a Samsung A5 phone, the Samsung Notes application, Delta Airlines flight from NY (JFK) to Amsterdam (and following few days). Late May 2018.I have a strong worldview, I'm pretty sure.I'm of age, but have no children (via that one song's lyrics).She's actually come up with a pretty good way to make decisions (via ancient Chinese culture).I wonder if Sheila Heti reads her GoodReads reviews.I won...
  • Gregory Baird
    Warning: if you are not into novels as therapy, this is not the book for you. If authorial gimmicks are not your thing, this is not the book for you.Motherhood is 300 pages of highly performative therapy as a writer agonizes over whether or not to have children. Is this writer a stand-in for Sheila Heti herself? I confess I don't care enough to look into the matter. Certainly, Heti has an avant-garde approach to novel-writing. How Should a Perso...
  • Amber Daugherty
    Hands down the best thing about this book was that Sheila regularly consults coin tosses - she explains that it's inspired by the Chinese divination system I Ching but is in fact different than it. What it does is infuse a sense into the writing that there's another character, a higher being, someone who knows her better than she knows herself and as she turns to the coins we can see that no one in fact knows the answers and that her questioning ...
  • Brittany
    “Everything had always been too loud, too close-up. Everything had always stung me too painfully. I had wanted to think about the world, but my anxieties forced me to think about myself—as if pressing into my face an injunction: first you must solve this problem—the problem of your self.” I enjoyed this book, but I also finished this book because I felt compelled to understand where the author landed. The entire book is stream of consciou...