Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No Biking in the House Without Wearing a Helmet!

About five years ago I met Melissa Fay Greene, author of the brand new book No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. She was in town on a book tour promoting her book about the HIV/AIDS crises in Africa, There is No Me Without You. Melissa and I share a mutual friend, Nancy Kayes, mom to 19 kids, many of whom were adopted. Nancy had graciously agreed to introduce me to Melissa. I was in the process of putting together a book of photographs of adoptive families called Now We are One. I was very nervous in asking her for a favor... I knew it was such a busy time in her life, that she was in the process of adopting 2 brothers from Ethiopia, and her life was particularly hectic- but I really thought that foreward from her would be perfect for the book. Since  Now We are One was done as a benefit for international adoption, I felt ok about asking her for help.  When Nancy introduced us, I quickly explained the project and asked if she would contribute....she quickly answered "Absolutely!" I thanked her. "Of course, of course," she replied. 
And that was that, one ABSOLUTELY! two OF COURSES! and a couple of weeks later I have a wonderful foreward for Now We Are One. Needless to say, I was blown away by her immediate positive reaction and generosity.
Her new book is a terrific account of how her family was built, by birth and adoption and is well deserving of the wonderful reviews that it has received.
The book is smart and funny and very, very real. I am thrilled that such a talented writer chose to build her family through adoption because she is able to describe to joys and challenges so perfectly. There have been countless times when I wish that I would have written down more of the details after each child became a part of our family. Especially during the time of emotional blur during the immediate months following each new addition. Melissa writes of this time beautifully and brought back many memories some very happy, and some of "...holy crap, what have I done to myself and my family!"In her writing, Melissa didn't hide those "holy crap" times and it was interesting to see how the shifts in her family dynamics were addressed. My good pal, Nancy Kayes, has told me (and many others) that when we are at the end of our rope to call her for a phone counseling/venting session. Along with my own mom she has been my "go to" for parenting advice. With 19 kids under her belt,  she has definitely seen it all when it comes to kids. It was a pleasure to read a chapter in the book about the Kayes family and realize that Melissa also has reached out to Nancy in moments of parenting panic. She had previously interviewed the Kayes family for an article in the New York Times and was impressed by the way that they treated each child in their remarkable family. Me too.   

Ok... so here is my official book review for No Biking in the House Without a Helmet.
This book is one very gifted writer's, thoughtful, entertaining and completely engaging account of how their family was formed. I found myself unable to put it down.


  1. Maggie, I just ordered the book yesterday. Can't wait to dive in!

  2. You will love it Aimee- it's a perfect Mother's Day read!