No Biking in the House Without a Helmet by Melissa Greene

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Synopsis

Dispatches from the new front lines of parenthood



When the two-time National Book Award finalist Melissa Fay Greene confided to friends that she and her husband planned to adopt a four-year-old boy from Bulgaria to add to their four children at home, the news threatened to place her, she writes, "among the greats: the Kennedys, the McCaughey septuplets, the von Trapp family singers, and perhaps even Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev, who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, gave birth to sixty-nine children in eighteenth-century Russia."



Greene is best known for her books on the civil rights movement and the African HIV/AIDS pandemic. She's been praised for her "historian's urge for accuracy," her "sociologist's sense of social nuance," and her "writerly passion for the beauty of language."



But Melissa and her husband have also pursued a more private vocation: parenthood. "We so loved raising our four children by birth, we didn't want to stop. When the clock started to run down on the home team, we brought in ringers."



When the number of children hit nine, Greene took a break from reporting. She trained her journalist's eye upon events at home. Fisseha was riding a bike down the basement stairs; out on the porch, a squirrel was sitting on Jesse's head; vulgar posters had erupted on bedroom walls; the insult niftam (the Amharic word for "snot") had led to fistfights; and four non-native-English-speaking teenage boys were researching, on Mom's computer, the subject of "saxing."



"At first I thought one of our trombone players was considering a change of instrument," writes Greene. "Then I remembered: they can't spell."



Using the tools of her trade, she uncovered the true subject of the "saxing" investigation, inspiring the chapter "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Couldn't Spell."



A celebration of parenthood; an ingathering of children, through birth and out of loss and bereavement; a relishing of moments hilarious and enlightening--No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is a loving portrait of a unique twenty first-century family as it wobbles between disaster and joy.




 

About Melissa Greene

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Melissa Fay Greene is the author of Praying for Sheetrock, The Temple Bombing, Last Man Out, and There Is No Me Without You. Two of her books have been finalists for the National Book Award, and New York University’s journalism department named Praying for Sheetrock one of the top one hundred works of journalism in the twentieth century. She has written for The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, Life, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, and Salon, among others. She and her husband, Don Samuel, have nine children and live in Atlanta.
 
Published April 24, 2012 by Sarah Crichton Books. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for No Biking in the House Without a Helmet

Kirkus Reviews

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It is not permissible to dabble in that way in someone’s life—especially a child’s.” Fortunately, the author and the boy formed a bond, and he became a member of the family, as did girl and three boys from Ethiopia in subsequent years.

Mar 21 2011 | Read Full Review of No Biking in the House Withou...

Publishers Weekly

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With four children of their own, Atlanta journalist Greene (There Is No Me Without You) and her husband, a criminal defense attorney, gradually adopted five more—one from Bulgaria and four from Ethiopia—to create a roiling, largehearted family unit.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of No Biking in the House Withou...

BC Books

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No Bikingis well written, the anecdotes Greene shares are nicely chosen, all together definitely a book I recommend to people who want to read more about adoption and large families.

Jul 10 2012 | Read Full Review of No Biking in the House Withou...

Christian Science Monitor

You just know that a book’s going to be good if you’ve already guffawed and the type has started to blur (even though you’re trying not to get overly emotional) when you’ve barely even finished the introduction.

May 05 2011 | Read Full Review of No Biking in the House Withou...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, Melissa Fay Greene's new book about life with her nine children—four biological, five adopted—is a more revealing, richer book than its cutesy-parenting title might lead you to expect.

Apr 28 2011 | Read Full Review of No Biking in the House Withou...

Bookmarks Magazine

Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books Product Description Dispatches from the new front lines of parenthood When the two-time National Book Award finalist Melissa Fay Greene ...

May 03 2011 | Read Full Review of No Biking in the House Withou...

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