I adored this debut memoir about a voyage into single-motherhood, when motherhood was the last thing on the author's itinerary. When she discovers she is pregnant, Heawood is leading a footloose, freelance life interviewing celebrities in LA. Her account of what happens next is freewheeling, hugely funny (there's a particularly brilliant story about a visit to an LA gynaecologist) and genuinely soul-mining. A "Best Book of 2020" for the Evening Standard and the Observer, it already counts Caitlin Moran and Dolly Alderton among its fans.
The Los Angeles sections unfold in the Gwyneth Paltrow heartland, and Heawood satirises the types that thrive there, who look “natural” with the help of $100 skincare regimes. There are a few celebrity cameos. She interviews Goldie Hawn and Jodie Foster, who come across as kind, but then Heawood knows how to play the Hollywood publicity machine, “kiss arse” and write in a way that’s sharp enough to impress but not offend. At another point she asks an LA gynaecologist about masturbating while pregnant. The doctor can’t bring herself to say clitoris, only that her clients “use their vibrators on the front part”. It’s brilliant. Heawood has a good sense of humour, but is never bitter or cruel. Above all, she has written a tender book about parental love that she and her daughter should be proud of.