Q&A and Reading with Melanie Notkin

On Wednesday, March 18th, at 7pm author Melanie Notkin will launch her latest book, Otherhood, at Book Culture on Columbus.  Melanie Notkin (a.k.a. Savvy Auntie) is the founder of SavvyAuntie.com and creator of the popular Savvy Auntie lifestyle brand--the phenomenon heralded by fabulous kid-friendly women everywhere as a celebration of modern, cosmopolitan aunthood. 

In Otherhood, Notkin reveals her own story as well as the honest, poignant, humorous, and occasionally heartbreaking stories of women in her generation--women who expected love, marriage, and parenthood, but instead found themselves facing a different reality. She addresses the reasons for this shift, the social and emotional impact it has on our collective culture, and how the "new normal" will affect our society in the decades to come. Notkin aims to reassure women that they are not alone and encourages them to find happiness and fulfillment no matter what the future holds. A groundbreaking exploration of an essential contemporary issue, Otherhood inspires thought-provoking conversation and gets at the heart of our cultural assumptions about single women and childlessness.

How did you come to write Otherhood?

After the publication of my first book, Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids (Morrow 2011), I became a contributor to Huffington Post. One of my earlier posts entitled: “The Truth About Childless Women” went viral, landing me on CNN and other shows. I had touched on the fact that the women of my generation yearn for love, marriage and children, but many of us remain single and childless. We’re often misunderstood; many people mistakenly believe we choose our careers over love and motherhood, or we’re too picky, too irresponsible, or simply that we don’t want the very things we have always wanted. I continued to write about themes women of Gen X are experiencing with dating, love, singlehood, late-age fertility and childlessness. Those essays, along with my own experience, inspired Otherhood.

What are you currently reading?

I’m more likely to be reading non-fiction that fiction. Currently, I’m reading Walt Disney: An American Legend, by Bob Thomas. As the founder of Savvy Auntie, I found great joy in learning that it was Walt’s favorite aunt, Auntie Margaret, who inspired his drawing as a boy by bringing him a big writing tablet and crayons. She’d rave about his drawings and keep them all. Naturally, I wanted to learn more about the man who inspires so many other children to use their imagination whiling giving credit to his aunt for inspiring his own.

Do you have a personal favorite book of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why?

 “…the stockings like dead snakes on the floor…”

I read that line on the first page of Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar, my first “grown up” book as a young teenager, and never forgot it. I probably read that first page many times over. I hadn’t realized until then how descriptive writing could create a scene in one’s mind.  

From that book, I became enthralled with words and writing. I never expected to become a writer myself, or that like Marjorie, to move to the Upper West Side (from Montreal, Canada) or travel to Paris (when I worked for L’Oréal USA). But unlike Marjorie, I did not marry the traditional Jewish boy and settle down in the suburbs, as I had expected I would do when I read that book. And yet, in her own way, Marjorie Morningstar (or Herman Wouk) had a part in leading me to where I am today.

Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to the publication of?

When Otherhood was released in hardcover last March, the response was breathtaking. I still receive messages from women all over the world who feel both comforted and empowered for finally having a voice and not feeling alone in their experience. I look forward to the paperback release encouraging more women of the Otherhood to read and share the book with their friends, and share their experiences in the Otherhood with each other.

What’s next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?

I’m thrilled to say that Otherhood is expected to take new form in the near future. I can’t be more specific other than to say it’s a dream come true.