Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood

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Product Details

Henry Holt & Company
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.3 X 1.1 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Christa Parravani is the bestselling author of Her: A Memoir. She has taught at Dartmouth College, UMass Amherst, SUNY Purchase, and West Virginia University, where she served as an Assistant Professor of Creative Nonfiction. She earned her MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Newark.


[Parravani] dissects the complexity of choice, how our own trauma and relationships inform it, as well as policy and access. She reveals the cost to us all when we fail to openly personalize the politics of abortion in America.
--The New York Times Book Review

Achingly personal. . . . [Parravani reveals] the ways in which the American health care system denies women agency over their own bodies and their children's futures.
--Entertainment Weekly

From the guts. Parravani takes her life in hand and confronts the institutions and attitudes that oppress her and countless women just like her. . . . Parravani's narrative is an American story. It doesn't just hit close to the bone; it reveals the skeleton.
--Los Angeles Review of Books

"Searing. . . . A devastating indictment of how environmental contamination and inadequate healthcare harmed [Parravani's] children born in West Virginia. This is a powerful account of what many women face in the U.S. today."
--Publishers Weekly

[A] luminous, complex story . . . visceral, yet metaphoric . . A welcome addition to women's narratives. . . In a time when the wars waged on women's sexual bodies are happening in multiple, intersecting ways, especially through individual organizations and agencies' attempts to stop women from asking for or receiving what they are legally allowed to request, Parravani's story is cautionary and a call to action; as personal as it is political.
--Library Journal

What emerges is not simply a portrait of Parravani's difficult marriage, painful health issues and stressful financial burdens but a complex picture of the unsayable circumstances that shape one woman's relationship to her body, to her choice to have children or not and the cost of that decision. In saying the unsayable, Parravani is unflinching and brave.

Intimate, affecting. . . . A candid, personal look at the political and cultural forces shaping women's lives.
--Kirkus Reviews

Unflinchingly honest, Christa Parravani lays bare the terrors, exhaustion and the great sacrifice of a parent trying to provide a healthy life for her family. An inspired memoir--and a reminder of the serious metal required of every ordinary woman.
--Stephanie Danler, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetbitter and Stray

Groundbreaking. . . . A fierce and essential explication of the many forces that constrain reproductive freedom. In a country riven by the need to reduce, to simplify, to ignore, Loved and Wanted challenges us to pay attention, to hold complexity, and to understand why we have to do better.
--Merritt Tierce, author of Love Me Back

Christa Parravani is one of our great memoirists. Loved and Wanted is a breathtaking book of life and death. Parravani provides a firsthand account from the front lines of a woman's right to choose. This story is a classic tale of the mountains. A story of how people arrive and leave, struggle and stay, and how they grapple with their ghosts.
--Scott McClannahan, author of The Sarah Book and Crapalachia

Heavily pregnant, with young children and an absent husband, living in an Appalachian hellscape featuring appalling medical care and white supremacist violence, Parravani writes, 'It occurred to me that I might die... as a woman dies, with child.' This book is a deceptively languid segment of the unending story of women forsaken by misogynistic cultures, religions, corporations, and governments. It is a book that accurately depicts--its brilliant metaphors glittering like diamonds--how much some Americans want women to suffer. Everyone should read this book.
--Sarah Manguso, author of 300 Arguments and Ongoing

The power of Christa Parravani's memoir almost eclipses the world of mere words. It is at once a lyrical meditation on motherhood, and a fierce examination of the double bind of pregnancy in a world in which women's choices are bound, and increasingly threatened, by the moral definitions and feeble politics of men. I want everyone to read it, to see the ways in which she navigates what most of us are never courageous enough to say. The book burrowed into some secret place in me, a place where it will exist not for weeks, or months, or even years, but forever. In my life, I will never forget this book. Read it. This is all I can say. You must read it."
--Rachel Louise Snyder, award-winning author of No Visible Bruises and What We've Lost is Nothing

"Here is searing testimony from the frontlines of American womanhood. Loved and Wanted is the story of one woman's fight to decide what's best for herself and her family. In gorgeous prose, this memoir simmers with anger at injustice and the fierce love of children. Parravani writes about the complexities of motherhood with warmth, dazzling imagery and a rogue sense of humor. Her heartbreaking and inspiring story--of seeking abortion and safe childbirth, caring for husband and kids--lays bare a broken system that denies fundamental human rights to women who can't afford to pay for them."
--Kate Manning, author of My Notorious Life