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Making It Up as I Go Along    by Maria T. Lennon order for
Making It Up as I Go Along
by Maria T. Lennon
Order:  USA  Can
Shaye Areheart, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Thirty-something Saffron Roch is a journalist covering war torn areas in Africa. She has spent the last decade living away from her comfortable Malibu home. When her stepmother passes away, Saffron returns to California, toting along her newborn daughter. Despite her years spent living in, and reporting from, a Third World country, motherhood confounds Saffron and provides her with the biggest challenge of her life.

At a breastfeeding class, Saffron connects with a group of new mothers, with most of whom she has nothing in common. However, she ends up bonding with them based on their shared experiences as new mothers, leading to several humorous scenes. The story goes back and forth between the present day and Saffron's time in Sierra Leone. There she formed a romantic liaison with Oscar, a physician with Doctors without Borders and the father of her baby, and another, deeper relationship with Joseph, an African national working with the United Nations trying to help restore peace to his country. Lennon takes the reader along with her on a journey to first time motherhood, as well as a journey to Africa where she writes eloquent descriptions of the landscape. A subplot concerning a property dispute with her aging hippie stepbrother adds a touch of comic relief.

This engaging story reads somewhat like a suspense novel and the reader is drawn into Saffron's life, wondering how she will resolve the various conflicts presented to her. While you may not agree with or even understand her ultimate decisions, you will probably nonetheless admire Saffron and find yourself rooting for her. Do not mistake this book for typical chick lit fare ... it delves much deeper. This is not just a novel about new motherhood, but about the choices and sacrifices needing to be made in life, and what you learn about yourself along the way.

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