An Innocent, a Broad by Ann Leary
I may need to reread this book now that I have children of my own, because I think I might enjoy it even more once I can more fully appreciate Leary’s experiences.
Leary takes what is expected to be a brief trip to London. At only 26 weeks pregnant, it should be an uncomplicated vacation for her while her husband performs in a BBC program.
Uncomplicated until she goes into labor and ends up in British hospital with a very prematurely-born son.
Leary may be married to the comedian Denis Leary, but she’s got plenty of comedic skills herself as she makes her experiences that could easily be tragic or heartbreaking instead seem hilarious. If you’re reading the book because you want to learn more about Denis however, he plays a minor role in the story; this is predominantly the story of Ann and baby Jack.
I’ll caution that I don’t remember if there is language that might be offensive to some; that’s something that I can easily ignore, but I know that some don’t want to read anything that includes profanity.
Ann Leary’s hilarious, poignant, surprising, and heartfelt memoir, An Innocent, a Broad, is a phenomenon — a fascinating, hugely entertaining chronicle of two simultaneous, unexpected births: of a baby and a major show-business career.
When Ann and her husband, then unknown actor-comedian Denis Leary, flew to London in the early nineties, neither anticipated the adventure that was in store for them. Ann, in her second trimester of pregnancy, looked forward to a carefree mini-vacation in England before the onset of motherhood. Denis saw his upcoming appearance on a BBC comedy program as the opportunity he needed to rocket his career forward. Although they had packed for only two nights, it would be five long months before they would be able to return to the United States.
Ann’s premature labor began the morning after the couple arrived in London and she suddenly found herself an unwitting yet grateful hostage of Britain’s National Health Service — a stranger in a strange land, abruptly plunged into a world of breast pumps and midwives, blood oxygen levels, mad cow disease, and poll-tax riots. Desperately worried about the health of their tiny, prematurely born son, Jack, Ann struggled to adapt to motherhood and make sense of a very different culture while, simultaneously, Denis found himself an overnight sensation on London’s comedy scene.
At once an intimate family memoir, a lively travelogue, a touching love story, an inside look at the entertainment industry, and a side-splitting comedy of errors, Ann Leary’s An Innocent, a Broad is an utterly engaging and unforgettable look at the bizarre twists and hairpin turns one can encounter on the road of life — whether that road winds through a familiar neighborhood or a frustratingly foreign land.
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