Take Daily As Needed
by Kathryn Trueblood
University of New Mexico Press
September 2019, 200 pages
ISBN 13: 978-0-8263-6096-0, paperback $19.99
Maeve Beaufort’s family is messy and complicated, rife with competing demands, difficult compromises, and on-the-spot judgment calls. Her father is spending his retirement on high-ticket items he doesn’t need and doesn’t remember ordering, her children’s teachers are suggesting medication, and her mood-swinging mother is threatening to move in. How much pressure can she withstand before she cracks? Or her family breaks? Or her health crashes? Welcome to Maeve’s life. She is the single mother of Noelle, who has anaphylactic reactions to nuts, and Norm, a nonconformist child whom everyone wants to diagnose. Newly diagnosed herself with Crohn’s disease, Maeve feels as though she is failing herself, her parents, and her children. But with spirit and determination—and a healthy dose of survival humor—she gives it her best go. Anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed, underappreciated, underpaid, and underwater will find a kindred spirit in Maeve, who does the best she can to make the world a little bit better and a little more functional for those around her.
“A writer whose fiction has largely focused on the impact that medical intervention, technology, and culture has on our lives, Trueblood’s latest novel follows Maeve, a chronically ill single mother of two demanding kids. Her father is in the early stages of dementia and her mother has volatile mood swings. Anyone who has ever tried to hold it all together when there is too much to do will relate to Maeve’s plight.”
-BuzzFeed News, Wendy J. Fox
“This novel in stories follows Maeve Beaufort through the maze of adulthood. Early stories chronicle ambulance rides for her highly allergic daughter; a diagnosis of Asperger’s for her elementary-age son; and a divorce from her children’s father….Later in the novel, Maeve’s aging parents try her nerves and break her heart, and a long battle with Crohn’s disease makes it difficult to hold down a job. Teenage children present the most colossal challenge of all: they force Maeve to reckon with the mistakes of her past. Trueblood makes great use of the unconventional form, molding Maeve’s story into a vivid portrait of independent womanhood.”
-Booklist, Courtney Eathorne
“The solid latest from Trueblood (The Baby Lottery) is a novel in nonlinear stories told from the perspective of Maeve, a mother of two and paralegal in Washington State dealing with Crohn’s disease. Throughout, Trueblood confidently sculpts her protagonist….Readers will appreciate the character wrinkles each new story turns up.”
“Take Daily as Needed explores chronic illness and its effect upon both those who are ill and their loved ones. Trueblood engagingly describes many aspects of family life in a manner that is authentic, honest, and often uncomfortable. The characters and relationships are multifaceted and the reader is allowed to witness to the love, anger, frustration, change and resilience in a way that rings true to life.”
-Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Literature, Maura Madden
“We first meet her in the back of an ambulance as her fourteen-month-old daughter, Noelle, is being rushed to the hospital after having an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. This emergency, where life and death hang in the balance, becomes a metaphor for Maeve’s rollercoaster existence. After all, she bears the name of a figure in popular Irish legend, a warrior queen. Maeve’s challenge is to learn how to rule her unruly household as a warrior, a loving, protective queen.”
-Mom Egg Review, Nancy Gerber
Diary of a Slut
by Kathryn Trueblood
June 2014, 54 Pages
ISBN 13: 978-1-9408-3846-5, ebook $2.99
When your daughter wants to pry into your past, how selective are you about your answers? Furthermore, how do you love the girl you once were? Trueblood’s tales unfold in remote places—a hippie high school on an island off the West Coast and a roadhouse in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest—places where only situational ethics seem to apply. At once stories of sexual abandon and sexual entrapment, they present two snapshots of the same woman and her coming-of-age where the road ends.
The Baby Lottery
by Kathryn Trueblood
The Permanent Press
June 2007, 249 pages
ISBN 13: 978-1-57962-151-3, Cloth $28
This novel is the first work of literary fiction to seriously examine the personal politics of choice. Five women, old college friends now approaching the age of forty, find their interlocking relationships strained when one of them decides to have a late-term abortion after delaying the decision in the hope that her husband would change his mind. The novel records the voices of her four friends as they struggle to bridge the gap between what they should feel and what they do feel. The women — an obstetric nurse, a public relations writer, a social worker, and a state college professor — are all actively described at their jobs with their loyalties divided. This book chronicles the lives of these women as they tackle issues of pregnancy vs. abortion, marriage vs. divorce, and career vs. motherhood.
A Book Sense Picks List 2007 selection from the American Booksellers Association
“Trueblood has written a beautiful novel about five women entering their 40s and discovering fault lines and continental drift where there was once easy collegiate friendship. She explores hot topics—abortion, child-raising, divorce—but the real beauty is in the writing, graceful, with startling metaphors that unexpectedly pop up, like land mines.”
—Rem Ryals, Village Books, Bellingham, WA
“Now in their late thirties, five college friends discover that their past history can’t maintain their bonhomie, especially when their views and values strongly diverge. Each woman takes center stage in alternating chapters that converge without necessarily overlapping. Trueblood draws blood as these friends confront the disappointment of their own choices as well as those of one another. Graphic in its depiction of obstetrical complications, this book presents a beautifully drawn yet harsh portrait of love in its varied permutations and how finding happiness really is a matter of chance. Highly recommended for literary fiction collections.
“Divorce, kids, careers, boyfriends, finding yourself—Trueblood’s debut novel announces itself early on as mainstream women’s fiction. Trueblood’s sympathetic juggling between the various points of view proves an effective way of showing that simple formulas don’t work for today’s women.”
The Sperm Donor’s Daughter and Other Tales of Modern Family
by Kathryn Trueblood
The Permanent Press
April 1998, 168 pages
ISBN 10: 1-57962-006-X, Cloth $22
This novel explores the impact of artificial insemination on human identity and looks at the potential repercussions for both mother and child. The story is told from the perspectives of a mother with many secrets and a strong desire to restructure the past, and a daughter who is the result of artificial insemination and has only recently discovered it. She is just beginning to discover her identity in relation to the men around her and is furious when she uncovers her true origins. After locating her father’s picture in a medical school yearbook, she sets off to find him, fueled by a strong desire to get to know him… and simultaneously hurt her mother.
“The language in Kathryn Trueblood’s new collection of stories, The Sperm Donor’s Daughter, blooms with the allure and heady fragrance of jungle flora—exotic saps waiting to be tapped; potent cures lurking, as yet undiscovered. Even her characters—common place citizens at first glance—harbor a drop of wild blood that curdles and froths against the threat of too much domesticity. In an uncertain and infinitely complex world, Trueblood’s stories demand that we sit up, pay attention, and care.”
—The Seattle Times Post-Intelligencer
“Sag Harbor’s Permanent Press has an obstinate belief in literary fiction’s burgeoning talents. Its latest discovery is Kathryn Trueblood, whose novella is a psychologically nuanced meditation on identity and makeshift bonds.
—New York Magazine
“This is the kind of cross-wired writing that leads to somewhere new. The standout is the 100-page title piece (which) erupts with wisdom about who is responsible for what in a pregnancy.”