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Angela Garbe's writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York magazine's "The Cut," and featured on NPR's Fresh Air. She was a staff writer at the Seattle newsweekly The Stranger. Garbes grew up in a food-obsessed immigrant Filipino household and now lives in Seattle with her husband and vis mere daughters. vis mindre

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I ended up skimming this toward the end because a lot of what Garbes is saying in this book is interesting and true but mostly not very new (to me) or helpful (to me). It's more enjoyable as a memoir about surviving the pandemic with two small children as a working mom and also growing up as the daughter of Filipino immigrant parents.

It's clear Garbes did a lot of background reading in order to write this book. There are lots of quotes from other writers and interesting history tidbits. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. For example, in the early 1980s Angela Davis "argued that housework should no longer be private. She envisioned the industrialization of housework: 'teams of trained and well-paid workers, moving from dwelling to dwelling...'" Fascinating! Also in 1975 women in Iceland staged a strike and "brought Iceland's economy to its knees."

In later chapters, the book lost some oomph for me. Still, I look forward to reading more of Garbes' work in the future. I like where she's going.
… (mere)
 
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LibrarianDest | 2 andre anmeldelser | Jan 3, 2024 |
A bit of a speed read because it was due yesterday, and there's a hold on it so I can't renew. This ended up being a really nice way to spend my first Mother's Day weekend, though! [b:Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy|35068708|Like a Mother A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy|Angela Garbes|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1519836595l/35068708._SX50_.jpg|56364139] was one of my favorite pregnancy reads, so it follows that Essential Labor would also be one of my favorite meditations on motherhood thus far (not that I've read much, given, well, new motherhood). Garbes considers caregiving, specifically for children within her own context as a Filipinx American daughter of immigrants living in the PNW. I found a lot of resonance for me, especially when she talked about growing up in rural Pennsylvania and her parents having to adjust what they knew of parenting from the Philippines to meet this new American context. I've also been thinking about the division of labor, and expectations when they differ from lived contexts (my husband and I are not within driving distance of either of our families, and it would be prohibitively expensive for them to regularly be available for care unless big changes are made).

Short, and definitely leans on the autobiographical. For further digging into any of the topics Garbes brings up, would probably pursue her cited sources from the bibliography (which include many other things I'd like to read such as [b:Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone|53241562|Work Won't Love You Back How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone|Sarah Jaffe|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1589823549l/53241562._SY75_.jpg|80653244] or things I've already read and loved such as [b:Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning|52845775|Minor Feelings An Asian American Reckoning|Cathy Park Hong|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1580788273l/52845775._SX50_SY75_.jpg|72657866]).
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Daumari | 2 andre anmeldelser | Dec 28, 2023 |
I really enjoyed this, mostly because this is probably the tone/approach I'd take if I were to write about my own pregnancy and what I'm learning throughout it (but also: bodies are incredibly weird and I love learning about the fascinating biological changes we undergo, including microchimerism). Unlike [b:Birth Without Fear: The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum|40697004|Birth Without Fear The Judgment-Free Guide to Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum|January Harshe|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1537196977l/40697004._SY75_.jpg|63294922], Garbes talks about research and how little the rich vein of maternal science has been dug into, pointing to a lot of really interesting discoveries that have only been published within the last decade despite humans giving birth for millennia. You'd think something like birth would make for a sexy funding topic but alas.

I should've expected it, but I was also delighted to see both Dr. Katie Hinde and Dr. Melissa Wilson from Arizona State University show up as interviewees in this! I am mostly familiar with them via Mammal March Madness and other science twitter shenanigans, and their research on milk and genetics respectively is nice to see in a popular/lay audience! I'm going to be thinking about baby backwash re: breastfeeding for a while.

Definitely going to pick up Garbes' second book that came out recently, [b:Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change|58782831|Essential Labor Mothering as Social Change|Angela Garbes|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1639948672l/58782831._SX50_.jpg|92554853].
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Daumari | 3 andre anmeldelser | Dec 28, 2023 |
Essential Labor is definitely a book that many will enjoy; however, this book was not for me. I did not grow up privileged and had to work hard to become successful and would never put anyone down who has different ambitions than I. Some parts of the book had me laughing but I more often found myself feeling confused as if I were being passively bullied.
 
Markeret
BridgetteS | 2 andre anmeldelser | Nov 24, 2022 |

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