Author: Roxane Gay
Series: Out of Line Collection #2
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
First Published: September 1, 2020
Genres: Dystopia, Feminist Fiction
Source: Prime Reading
From New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay comes an unforgettable tale of nightmarish bureaucracy in which genetic profiling has redefined the “unfit mother.”
A trip to the library prompts one woman to question her fate in this galvanizing short story. For a woman like Hadley, deemed not acceptable to procreate, there’s only one recourse. Unlicensed for motherhood, she can alleviate her grief and frustration at a “baby library,” where a curiously endless supply of infants is available for a two-week loan. But the borrowed life that serves as a temporary balm leads to a journey of self-discovery that will forever change the direction of Hadley’s future.Also in this series: The Contractors
One of the biggest decisions a woman can ever make in her life is the choice over whether or not they want to bear children. Whether or not a woman decides to have a child has social consequences: her marriage partner(s), her career and education options, what social circles she will likely to gravitate to, how other people will view her; society places a lot of pressure on women to make this choice. Though it is a personal choice, society will always weigh in on this choice.
“Don’t ever speak such heresy again. You are lucky enough to have a pristine genetic profile. You have a duty, and you will fulfill it.”
Graceful Burdens takes this choice away from women and dares to ask the reader who is truly free in a world where eugenics dictates who can and cannot procreate. This short packs a punch and I was utterly engaged from the first page. There is so much untapped potential and the story could have easily been a full-length novel. Hadley and Seraphina are both unhappy characters that present unique viewpoints. The concept of a baby library to soothe the ache of unlicensed women is an interesting concept that I feel could easily be expanded upon. Both the characters and the plot feel cut short, but I enjoyed the story regardless, it’s a strong story that fans of feminist science fiction will easily enjoy.