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'Expected' Offers Self-Help, Humor For The Unborn

Oct 21, 2009 (All Things Considered)

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'What to Expect When You're Expected' cover David Javerbaum

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Most people are familiar with the What to Expect book series, which offers advice on everything from keeping healthy during pregnancy to parenting toddlers. Now, Daily Show writer David Javerbaum has a new book — What to Expect When You're Expected — that offers a slightly different perspective. Billed as "a fetus' guide to the first three trimesters," Expected is a tongue-in-cheek take on life in utero.

The author jokes that the idea for the book came from the "disturbing" experience of watching his two children being born "naked, screaming [and] incoherent."

"As an American, I don't like seeing the next generation of Americans in that kind of condition," he tells Michele Norris. "I was hoping that after reading this book, fetuses would emerge better able to handle some of the challenges of modern 21st century society."

To that end, Expected includes advice on accepting the well-meaning but "stupid" names that parents bestow, as well as strategies for fetuses tired of listening to Mozart.

"Your parents want the best for you, and they want you to be better than themselves," Javerbaum explains to the unborn. "One of your parents' failings is that they never, ever listen to classical music, and so they are going to inflict their guilt about that onto you, so you have to sit there and essentially get an involuntary nine-month subscription to your very own Mozart festival."

Perhaps, says Javerbaum, Frank Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin" or The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" would be more appropriate fetal listening choices. Or maybe, in the case of conjoined twins, "With or Without You."

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