Ready For Air: A Review

posted in: Book Review, Motherhood 45 comments

This is not a sponsored post, nor did I receive compensation. I received a complimentary copy of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood by Kate Hopper for purposes of this review, as part of a blog book tour. All opinions and love for the book and the author, are my own. And Kate wrote a lovely post about my reviewing her book. Seriously, I love this woman.

  Ready for air book coverEver read a book that made you hang onto the edge of the seat? One that also made you hold your breath while you turned the page, the anticipation of the next paragraph, next chapter, almost painful? One that made you cry, smile, gasp? Ready for Air by Kate Hopper did just that.

I blitzed through Ready for Air, as I found myself invested in Kate’s story about Stella, born too soon at 32 weeks. The need to know what came next urged me on into the wee hours of the night. Some of the language is frightening – preeclampsia, preemie, sepsis – and many of the images, stark, vivid, and very much every mother’s greatest fear – that of the NICU, needles and tubes through tiny babies, the very unknown of what the next day, next night brings. 

Kate weaves her words in such a way that you feel what she feels. She brings you into those moments of fear, anger, guilt, joy and contentment. I have never been a mother of a preemie, although I’ve had two cousins give birth to very tiny babies (one at 30 weeks, he was as small as a kitten). I was frightened for them, but never felt connected to how truly scary it can be. I had no idea what it was like for a mother to look on their child in an isolette in the hospital, worried about touching them in case they jolt an IV. I could not fathom what it must have been for my cousins as they worried about every alarm that went off. Kate brought me right into each step of her journey from giving birth, navigating the NICU, to the early and exhausting days of motherhood, and her relationships with her husband and family.

If you read any memoir this year, I urge you to pick up Kate’s book. It’s not just about the frightening aspects of prematurity – it’s about motherhood and love. And who doesn’t love a book about love? Thank you, Kate, for sharing your story with us.


Kate Hopper

Kate Hopper is the author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Kate holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including BrevityLiterary MamaPoets & Writers, and The New York Times online. She is an editor at Literary Mama. She teaches online and at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. For more information about Kate’s writing and teaching, visit her website.

NICU Book Giveaway
As a part of the blog book tour, Kate would love it if you could suggest NICUs or Hospital Resource Centers that you think would benefit from a free copy of Ready for Air. Please comment on this post on Kate’s blog with the name and address of the hospital, specifying whether it goes to the NICU or family resource center. When the blog tour ends on November 4, Kate will randomly pick 15 hospitals to receive signed copies of Ready for Air

Ready for Air Book Club Contest
Kate wants to come to your book club! Enter your club to win one of three Skype or phone chats with the author to discuss her memoir. To enter the contest, please e-mail presspr<at> umn<dot>edu with the subject line “Ready for Air Book Club Contest,” and include a few sentences about why you’d like to have Kate visit your book club via Skype (or, if you’re in the Twin Cities, in person).  Contest deadline: October 31st.

You can buy Ready for Air at these online stores.
AmazonIndieboundPowell’sBarnes & Noble

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Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • October 10, 2013 Tonya

    Oh, I want to read this!! It sounds like a story every mother should read. Adding it to my must read list ASAP!

    Although, I think I already have because, didn’t Angela also review it?
    Tonya recently wrote…I Was AttackedMy Profile

    • October 10, 2013 Alison

      Galit reviewed it at Everyday Family last week! 🙂

      • October 10, 2013 Tonya

        That’s right! Well, her review made me want to read it and now, after reading yours, it’s a must.
        Tonya recently wrote…I Was AttackedMy Profile

  • October 10, 2013 Stasha

    This sounds lovely. I am queueing it up for a cold autumn evening read.
    Stasha recently wrote…Better with petsMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      You will love it! The story starts in autumn too. 🙂

  • October 10, 2013 Ma. Teresa Grech Q. Racal

    Thank you for posting this. I will look for this here in our local bookstore.

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      I don’t know if it’s available in Asia yet, but you can order it off Amazon!

  • October 10, 2013 Tamara

    I didn’t have a preemie either, but I did have a NICU baby. There he was all 8 1/2 pounds of him, next to 25 and 26 week old babies. My friend gave birth to 25-week twins. It was very scary but they’re now about 18 months and walking and happy. Pretty amazing. I’d be very interested to read this book.
    Tamara recently wrote…Something So Right.My Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      I love hearing about NICU success stories!

  • October 10, 2013 Shana Norris

    I love that books have the power to give us insight and perspective in situations we haven’t went through first hand. They can make us more compassionate and understanding human beings. This sounds like one of those books. Thanks for sharing it with your readers, Alison.
    Shana Norris recently wrote…It’s Almost (Birthday) Party TimeMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      It most certainly is – Kate truly has a gift.

  • October 10, 2013 tracy

    I could not put Kate’s book down. Love her. Love her words. Quite possibly I sit outside her home at night and thinking about breaking in just to touch her hair. Don’t tell her I said that. xo
    tracy recently wrote…Old School Blogging – Five Favorite BlogsMy Profile

    • October 10, 2013 Kate Hopper

      Tracy, I adore you. And maybe I sit outside YOUR house wanting to touch your hair. But sounds a little scary, doesn’t it?
      Kate Hopper recently wrote…Comment on writing wishing by KateMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      You’re both adorable!

  • October 10, 2013 Kate Hopper

    Oh Alison, thank you for this lovely post. I’m so honored!!
    Kate Hopper recently wrote…Comment on writing wishing by KateMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for having me on the book tour – it’s MY honor. xo

  • October 10, 2013 Katie Sluiter

    I TOTALLY want to read this book. For one, I LOVE Kate Hopper. She is so lovely. I had a chance to sort of work with her a few years ago via TRDC when she guest posted for us about memoir writing for bloggers. She is so lovely. I also love memoirs, so there’s that too. This one is officially on my To Read List for when life calms down (so…um..Christmas break? Summer? Ha ha!)
    Katie Sluiter recently wrote…crippling expectationsMy Profile

    • October 10, 2013 Kate Hopper

      Katie, thank you!!! I loved working with you, too!! Let’s do something again soon!
      Kate Hopper recently wrote…Comment on writing wishing by KateMy Profile

      • October 15, 2013 Katie Sluiter

        I would love to work together again!

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      I have only heard lovely things about Kate from those who have met her – I do hope you too work together again soon!

  • October 10, 2013 Kim

    My oldest was full term, but was in the NICU for a short time after birth because he was having trouble breathing, so I relate to the fear and uncertainty that you mention, Alison. This sounds like a great read.
    Kim recently wrote…Never Did I EverMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      It most certainly is, Kim!

  • October 11, 2013 Kerstin

    Your review really makes me want to read this book – and I usually shy away from reading (or watching) anything with babies or children in distress. I just can’t handle it. I’m such a whimp.
    Kerstin recently wrote…Fancy FriendshipMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      I didn’t think I could either, but Kate makes this really approachable, despite its scariness. GIve it a go!

  • October 11, 2013 Nina

    Beautiful, thoughtful review! I haven’t read Kate’s book yet, but I bought it at her reading in Minneapolis last week and I can’t wait to dig in! I’ve read a lot of Kate’s work through her blog and her craft book, Use Your Words. In person she is exactly has she comes off on the page: generous, funny, and so much more.
    Nina recently wrote…How I Turned My Kids Into Broadway FansMy Profile

    • October 11, 2013 Kate Hopper

      Aw, Nina. Thank you so much. It meant a ton to me to see your face last week in the crowd!

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      Use Your Words is one of my absolute favorites! Rather envious that you’ve mate the lovely Kate.

  • October 11, 2013 Julia

    Sounds like a great book . I’ve have a few friends who have had premies and it can be very scary at times. I’m reading Happier at Home..,
    Julia recently wrote…One of Those WeeksMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      I’ve got that too – just haven’t got to it yet. 🙂

  • October 11, 2013 Kathy Radigan

    What a lovely review, this book sounds very compelling! My goddaughter was born at 30 weeks and is now a 24 year old college grad working on a cruise ship! Amazing what can be done and how these little ones fight! Thanks Allison for introducing us to Kate.
    Kathy Radigan recently wrote…Getting Possessed with Kathy and the Dishwasher: 5th Victim – Debra Cole of Urban Moo CowMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      Wow that’s awesome! My 30-week old nephew is now a busy 2 year old. 🙂

  • October 11, 2013 Nicole

    This sounds like a great book. I love memoirs, so I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the review and tip!
    Nicole recently wrote…Fear of Heights: A Metaphor for MotherhoodMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      This is a must-read memoir!

  • October 11, 2013 Kristen

    My goodness. I can’t even begin to imagine what Kate would have been going through. And then, to put those fears into words? Simply amazing. This sounds like a fantastic read!
    Kristen recently wrote…Welcome to the big leagues!My Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      Writing it out saved Kate, I believe. She really is amazing, and this is a wonderful book.

  • October 11, 2013 Sue

    Great review. “And who doesn’t love a book about love?” I am anxiously awaiting my copy in the mail.

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      I’m so glad you’ve got it, Sue!

  • October 11, 2013 Allie

    As a mom of twins, this was my worst fear. Every book I read leading up to my delivery had me expecting to deliver small babies in need of the NICU. Somehow my worst fears did not come true and they were born healthy and strong at 37 weeks. Now that has passed, I would love to read this book. It sounds absolutely compelling.
    Allie recently wrote…Any Given Race DayMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      So glad you had a safe and healthy twin pregnancy and delivery, Allie!

  • October 11, 2013 Leigh Ann

    I loved this book. She has such a way with words.
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…That time I witnessed a car accidentMy Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      She does, I love Kate!

  • October 11, 2013 Michelle

    It sounds wonderful Alison! I’ll definitely check it out! None of my babies were NICU babies…I can only imagine how scary that must have been!
    Michelle recently wrote…Celebrating the Little Things in Life {Ladies Only Blog Share Link Party}My Profile

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      I hope you do check it out, it’s a wonderful book.

  • October 11, 2013 Ilene

    I *need* to download this to my Kindle. My son is almost 8 but was born at 31 weeks and yes, was as tiny as a kitten who I was afraid to hold in fear of breaking him. I so get this. I’m glad there’s a memoir out there to describe this.

    • October 14, 2013 Alison

      Oh Ilene, I didn’t know you had a preemie! Do read this, Kate has a true gift with words.

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