Title: Good Eggs: A Memoir
Author: Phoebe Potts
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Buy this book at: Chapters
For Phoebe Potts, the path to maternal fulfillment has not been easy. All her friends seem to get pregnant, but she can’t conceive for all her trying. As Phoebe and her husband, Jeff, navigate the emotionally and physically fraught world of fertility experts, she takes stock of what matters in the rest of her life and reflects on the winding journey to her true calling as an artist. From her days as an amateur union organizer in Texas to her spiral into paralyzing depression in Mexico; from her soul-shrinking, all-for-the-benefits stint as an administrative assistant at a fancy university in Cambridge to her flirtation with rabbinical school, Phoebe illuminates the bumpy road to vocational and personal contentment. Her wonderful, hilarious, and utterly original drawings capture the truly good eggs—an unforgettably nutty mother; a devoted husband; a team of therapists, hairdressers, and landladies; friends; and a sidekick housecat—that together expand the definition of what really makes a family. (Source: Goodreads)
Potts’ book recounts the hope and sorrow of trying, unsuccessfully, to conceive a child. The book looks further into Phoebe’s life as well dealing with her childhood, university life, and career paths over her life. This is an autobiographical graphic novel.
I purchased this book entirely accidentally. I had it confused with another book with the word egg in the title. I am still happy I picked this up. I am a big fan of graphic novel biographies, and found this one interesting because I had never really read anything dealing with the different means of conception outside of just…sex. I found Potts’ story quite moving as she struggles with the fact that she might not be able to be a mother.
Potts ties her story to many biblical stories from the Torah. She looks at the ways in which motherhood is dealt with in her faith and the expectations she has created for herself over the years to become a mother. I thought this was particularly interesting because the question of motherhood is one presented to women very early on, especially the expectation to produce offspring, build a family, raise children, etc. This is a storyline that a lot of women can probably relate to. I am a little young still, and not considering starting a family anytime soon, but I can relate to the desire to be a mother someday and the expectation to have children.
Phoebe is unable to have children through just sex, all attempts fail. This brings you to the main content of the book, she tries several other methods including IVF to conceive a child. This journey is long and rough, for both Phoebe and the reader. Hearing about all the failures of this road was really exhausting. Phoebe is on medication for depression and I think the road to motherhood really wipes her out, and removes a lot of the hope that is necessary when dealing with this kind of content. Sometimes that made the book really hard to read. It was simply depressing at a lot of points in the book and it really wears on you as a reader.
I did find Phoebe a little annoying sometimes too. I thought she complained a lot about other people’s privilege and forgot about her own sometimes. She was financially stable enough to leave her job, leave the country, pursue all the expensive fertility treatments but still complains about other people’s wealth. She does make reference to her own privilege early on in the book but seems to forget about it all together by the end. This was a little annoying and made her a little more frustrating to read about especially because the whole content of the book is about her.
Coming out of this book in the end, there is a lot of hope but also so much sorrow that the hope is almost buried to deep to feel. I felt sort of miserable by the end of the book and not so hopeful for the future. I think that was one of the failures of the book, the hope was too dim for the reader to feel.
Regarding the style of this book, I found it a little hectic and hard to read sometimes. I didn’t find it particularly aesthetically pleasing, which is fine because a lot of these autobiographical comics are sort of rougher, not too detailed in the drawing. However, I found the layout of panels really hard to deal with sometimes. There would be too much going on, on not a clear enough pathway through all the text, which either broke up dialogue weirdly or made the narration unclear. I think this also served to make the timeline a little unclear sometimes as well, especially because this book deals with a lot of flashback sequences and it just made the book a little messy and unclear.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I would recommend it if you’re interesting in graphic novel biographies, however I do warn you that it’s a little on the depressing side sometimes and does deal with a lot of darker content (depression, infertility). It was an enjoyable, if at times frustrating read.