In Now My Heart is Full, Laura June explores how raising her daughter forced her to confront this tragic legacy and recognize the connective tissue that binds generations of women together. As she documents in beautiful and irreverent prose the pain and joy of raising a child, Laura shows how, even a generation later, we still do not have the language to fully discuss the change that a woman undergoes when she becomes a parent and finds that, to her surprise, she has more in common with her mother than she ever knew.
Intertwining her experience of becoming a mother with the memories of her own, late mother, June reckons unflinchingly with the muck of motherhood and daughterhood without disavowing the precious particularities of both. Her book is less preoccupied than other recent works...with the disquietude inherent to choosing parenthood or with the agitated reconceiving of identity once she has become one; through the tapestry of memory, she tries to forge a new, more capacious narrative for her experiences of motherhood, one that situates pain and pleasure alongside one another, where they neither compete nor cancel each other out ... her memoir nimbly laces together the yen for a legible history with the uncompromising assertion that we can only own the choices we make. And even then, we have to contend with the fissures and contingencies ... Now My Heart Is Full doesn’t debate the pros and cons of having children, or take on the futile task of defining a mother’s role. Instead it offers tender ambiguity, indicating that something as overdetermined as a 'mother' can never mean precisely what we want or expect or fit the contours of our fluctuating hopes.
June tackles both the instructive, such as making rules and routines for Zelda that free them both, and the revelatory, those thoughts of her mother and her mother’s illness that appeared in the new creative space that becoming Zelda’s mom opened for her and begged to be put, however painfully, on the page. Warm, wrenching, and full of light, June’s first book joins a spate of recent memoirs by new mothers that includes Meaghan O’Connell’s And Now We Have Everything and Jessica Friedman’s Things That Helped.