Tired of books where everyone seems to have children? Like the book I just read in which one of the female leads has two children, 8 and 14, and the other has a one-year-old and a baby on the way?
So was Lisa Ann Kissane, one of the speakers at the recent Childless Collective Summit. Childless herself, she was weary of childless characters having miracle babies, successful fertility treatments, or being given babies to raise. Bam, you’re a mother, problem solved. So she founded the “Nomo Book Club,” nomo being short for “not mother.”
Lisa Ann reads constantly, looking for books that won’t be upsetting to women who don’t have children for whatever reason. She rates them with a “trigger warning level” from red–don’t read this–to orange–proceed with caution–to green–no worries here. The green ones are hard to find. Male heroes are often childless, but the heroines not so much.
Certain genres, like romance, seem to require that the women end up married with children or at least the promise that that’s coming. But we all know that happy ending doesn’t always happen in real life. Lisa Ann looks for stories that represent how it really is. She warns there is just as much of a danger of creating stereotypes of childless women as there is of women who have children. The hard-hearted career woman, for example.
When I wrote my novel Up Beaver Creek, I wasn’t really thinking about it as representing childlessness, but I guess it reflects my own reality. The heroine, P.D., was unable to have children, and none of the main characters are raising children. A couple of twin boys make a cameo appearance, but generally this is a childfree book. Is P.D. going to wind up with children? No. She has moved on.
As for my previous novel Azorean Dreams, I’m pretty sure the protagonist, Chelsea, will soon be a mother. I wrote it more than 20 years ago and went with the cliché.
Lots of book titles were tossed around during the Summit discussion with Lisa Ann. Among her recent favorites are Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up by Alexandra Potter, Sourdough by Robin Sloan, and Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. See her latest recommendations at Kissane’s website, https://lisaannkissane.tumblr.com.
The featured book for March was Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons. In April, she offers a book of poems, The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Don’t you love the title?
If you like to read, I highly recommend joining the Nomo Book Club. Have you read some books that you found encouraging for childless readers? Are there others that made you feel bad because they were all about babies? Please share.
10 thoughts on “Nomo Book Club offers ‘safe’ books for childless readers”
I also struggle to find Christian fiction books that aren’t romance novels. Just can’t read that genre anymore. Give me a good Christian mystery!!
Thank you Sue. This is long overdue. When I review a book on Goodreads, sometimes I flag it as triggering.
Meant to say one of my pet peeves even worse than the typical happy ending for the token childless woman is when the author makes the token childless woman bitter because she can’t have kids.
Of course I grieve not having my own bio kids but I don’t hate the world or bio parents just because they do.
Such a narrow view the world can have! The more “inclusive” we get it seems the more “judgmental” people get.
Thank you Sue. I love to read and look forward to some of these selections in the NOMO group, which I’ve joined. Appreciate the reference.
Great idea for a booklist. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading a selection.
Besides her blog, Lisa runs the NoMo book club within the Gateway Women private community… we’ve read & discussed several of her selections mentioned here — all really good reads. I’ve reviewed then all on my own blog (as well as on Goodreads).
By the way, we read “Up Beaver Creek” before Lisa took on organizing the book club there, and I really enjoyed it. 😉
This is brilliant! I just subscribed to Lisa’s blog to get her future reviews. Thank you for sharing!
The NOMO link is not working
You’re right. Apparently it has been changed. This is the new link: https://thenomobookclub.com/