Paradise, Piece by Piece

I just finished reading a book by poet Molly Peacock called Paradise, Piece by Piece. Her first foray into prose, it tells the story of why she decided not to have children and how that decision has played out in her life. It offers some touching insights, plus it’s a wonderfully written memoir about a child who had a terrible childhood and struggled to find her way as an adult. I had a hard time putting it down. It has been out since 1998, so you can probably find a used copy. Highly recommended. Read more about Peacock at

Peacock maintains that although women who don’t have children do seem to miss a stage in growing up, other life experiences, such as the deaths of their parents, will bring them to full maturity in time.

She also notes that several other famous female authors, including Louisa May Alcott, have been childless. She raises the question of whether one can be dedicated to both one’s art and the many challenges of being a parent. What do you think?