Expecting Sunshine Book Launch!
Expecting Sunshine, by author Alexis Marie Chute, hits bookshelves this April 2017!
Do you know this common phrase, “A builder’s house is never finished”? Well I’d add to that that a writer’s blog is never updated. That’s my experience at least. I am off writing for magazines and other publications, publishing my book, and writing the next one! I really do wish I had more time to blog. I really do. So when you look at my AM Writes site and see the HUGE gaps in posting times, and the blog series – great in theory – that have been started and paused, please do not assume I am off being terribly unwriterly. The opposite is true! The harder I’m working, the harder it is to post a measly 300 word blog entry.
All that said, today I am posting(!!) because my memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss, has been officially released! At the same time, I have an article to write for TIME Magazine’s site, Motto, so this is a mini-post! Below are two recent book reviews and the invite for my first bookstore party, held in my home city of Edmonton! If you’re not a local Edmontonian, I’ve also got book tour stops in Calgary, Toronto, Boston, New York City, Phoenix, and Auckland New Zealand!
Thanks for being patient with me.
Verdict: EXPECTING SUNSHINE is an invaluable resource for those dealing with loss, as well as a beautifully-told story of grief, hope, healing and love.
Alexis Marie Chute and her husband Aaron lost their second child, their son Zachary, minutes after his birth due to a heart condition called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. For a year, Chute descended into what she calls her “Year of Distraction,” in which she was unable to function or focus for grief. On emerging from that year of mourning, she became pregnant once more, hoping desperately this time for a healthy baby. This book is a narrative of that pregnancy, full of anxiety, anticipation, fear, healing, and hope.
There are few if any losses in life that match the heartbreak of losing a child, and this book is an achingly beautiful response to such a loss. This is a straightforward, honest, day-by-day first-person account, all the more effective for being simply and clearly told, without melodrama but with an lovely, lyrical, almost poetic writing style. Chute holds nothing back, from her anger at God to marital stresses to her panicked anxiety at the thought of possibly losing either this new pregnancy or her oldest child, her cherished daughter Hannah. However, there are moments of brilliant sunshine that illuminate the book as well, as when she hears her new baby’s heartbeat for the first time, singing a refrain of “I am alive, I am well, I am here.”
Bring a handkerchief either way – tears of sorrow and tears of joy are intertwined throughout the book. The honesty and the clarity of the writing make this an invaluable resource not only for those who have lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early death, but also to their friends and family, who may be unsure of what to say or how to approach their loved one’s grief. Chute openly and directly discusses what helped her and what did not – the gentleness, openness, and warmth of her devout Aunt Ruth’s approach to her doubts about religion and faith versus the overbearing dogmatism of some members of her Mourning Together group, for example. The result is a book that is useful as well as deeply heartwarming.
EXPECTING SUNSHINE is an invaluable resource for those dealing with loss, as well as a beautifully-told story of grief, hope, healing and love.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader
A mother recovering from the death of her newborn child experiences both hope and intense anxiety as she embarks on another pregnancy in this debut memoir.
Chute, a photographer and artist, lost her second child, Zachary, just moments after his birth when he died of an inoperable heart tumor caused by a genetic abnormality called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. After a period of anguish that included an episode in which she pounded her head against a wall and stabbed her palm with a golf tee, she immersed herself in a “Year of Distraction” through frenetic work. Then, after being reassured that Zachary’s illness was not inherited, she became pregnant again—and began a new ordeal, chronicled here in 40 week-by-week chapters. Chute’s worry that the new pregnancy would also end in tragedy preoccupied her and made every doctor’s appointment, ultrasound scan, and bodily twinge an agony of apprehension. Meanwhile, she tried to process the unfinished business of Zachary’s death in a church-run mourning group where she found mainly a gruel of unhelpful platitudes; mothered her rambunctious 2-year-old daughter, Hannah; and tussled and bonded with her husband, Aaron, who was supportive but sometimes wounded her with his determination to get on with life. In this sometimes fraught, sometimes luminous work, Chute’s narrative brings together in a roiling, deeply felt tangle maternal experiences that are usually separated, as the exhilaration of pregnancy and the exhausting happiness of raising a toddler are overshadowed by lingering grief and dread. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, with giddy anticipation turning on a dime into fretful, claustrophobic brooding and self-laceration. Chute’s prose conveys the full force of her turmoil with powerful imagery—“I felt that I would be like uncooked ground beef, bloody and grated, for the rest of my life”—but keeps enough distance to probe and interrogate her feelings, and gain a deeper understanding of them.