Member Reviews

Thought provoking and full of warmth, this was a great read and a great celebration of child free women by choice!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this ARC.

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Harpy proclaims itself to be a 'Manifesto' - and I picked it up imagining a bold treatise for childfree women. And while it is wonderfully unapologetic, I was also pleasantly surprised by its warmth. At the outset, Magennis says she wants to speak to the imaginary 'You' as if she and the reader were sat in a cosy pub or cafe. And that is exactly what reading this book feels like: a chat between friends.

There is no interrogation here - Magennis refuses to question 'why' a woman might not want children, and instead focuses on what a childfree life might look like. It's a liberating approach to the subject, allowing for some thoughtful and open-minded musings on how childfree women navigate relationships, the workplace and family. Magennis mixes her own thoughts with those of other women she has interviewed, creating a community of voices which perfectly illustrates the core themes of care and coexistence.

I came away from Harpy feeling supported and empowered, and I will definitely be recommending this book to other women in my life.

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This was a fascinating book, written in a lovely tone.
Timely and relevant, and very thought provoking.

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Even though this book’s topic is near and dear to my heart, I had never before read any non-fiction on it.
On the topic of motherhood, I’ve read Guadalupe Nettel’s “Still Born” and Emma Gannon’s “Olive”, which didn’t totally fill my cup, the latter in particular because of the title character’s doubts about not wanting children, and worrying there was something wrong with her.

Caroline Magennis’ “Harpy”, on the other hand, is an amazing book by an unashamedly childfree woman for other unashamedly childfree women, and I absolutely loved it.

What I enjoyed most is that the book doesn’t focus on the reasons behind not wanting children, but rather on all other aspects of childree women’s lives. Mixing the author’s own thoughts and feelings with testimonials of childfree women she’s interviewed, the book shows us how childfree women navigate the workplace, and their relationships to friends, partners, families, and communities; how they move through life by valueing their work, their community, their freedom, or simply the passing of their routinely quiet days.
Some of the topics mentioned in the book I’d already thought a lot about and experienced myself, such as having “friends” tell me I’d change my mind. Others, however, I had never even considered such as the under-researched impact of not having children on menopause, alternative living facilities for the childfree elderly people, and the need for advocating for ourselves in what these sorts questions are concerned.

Harpy is a great information source as it is, with a chapter focussed on real and fictional childfree women, but not just that, it also shares a lot of other childree resources, from online communities to books and documentaries.

I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to all childfree people as well as anyone wanting to educate themselves on the topic or understand the childfree women in their lives a little bit better.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Icon Books for this ARC.

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Unfortunately file won’t work with any of my readers so unable to read or review but look forward to reading this on publication day

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