Norwegian title: Anja + Gro = Mio – Kunsten å få barn
Hi book friends!
Another great read has come to an end! This book should really be a curriculum for every high school student, at least in Norway. It touches upon a difficult and, for many, unfamiliar topic, and trust me, I would never think that having a child as a gay couple could be this complicated! Besides it is Pride Month and what better book to write a review about just now than one about the love between two women?! The synopsis is translated from Goodreads:
Anja and Gro Hammerseng-Edin are among the most famous athletes in Norway. They’ve won several medals and played for Norway’s national handball team. On top of this, they’re also two of a very few openly gay women within the Norwegian sports society. For about a year and a half, they’ve been mothers to Mio, their son.
During the process of conceiving Mio, they’ve noted and experienced several things which prove that our society still quite haven’t accustomed itself to modern families where the family doesn’t necessarily consist of mother, father, and children. Among the experiences, they’ve made on their journey was the fact that Anja had to sign as ‘father’ on Mio’s birth certificate.
This book is dedicated to the dream of having a child and the process behind it, from beginning until today. It consists of ups and downs, of how to combine being top athletes and being parents and questions alongside reflections on their situation, how they experienced the process, and how a modern family setting can influence Mio in the future.
First of all, I have to say that I’ve admired and respected these two women since I was about 10 years old. I’ve played handball (a combination of basketball and water polo if you’re not familiar with the sport) for eight years myself, and I’ve watched Anja and Gro play more championships and matches than I can count. The fact that they were both gay was something I always knew, but never thought about, and I remember I was happy for them when they got married. It never seemed weird to me that they married because why shouldn’t they? Sadly, we know this isn’t the case all around the world, yet. Then they published this book, and my admiration and respect have grown even more as a result. I think it is incredibly important for our society to see that it doesn’t matter whether you’re an athlete, a banker or a farmer, love is still love and you should be able to marry your loved one and conceive a child if that’s what you wish. I attended their talk show back in April 2018 and now when I read their book, I felt like that talk show helped me understand the dynamic in their relationship better. To make this perfectly clear, I do not know these women beyond the screen or the talk show I attended.
My favourite thing in this book is that Anja and Gro each tell their own side of the story together. We get both perspectives and I think that is one of the things that makes such an impression. They have very different personalities, they react very differently to things, and yet they seem to have such a caring, understanding, and strong relationship #couplegoals! They both have this strong wish for a child, but who will carry the baby? How will this affect the partner? What about the correct donor? Anja and Gro present many reflections and complications within this book that a straight person never has to think about. I know for sure that I’ve never considered half of the things I learned through reading this book, and that’s my main argument for why it should be the curriculum within the Norwegian high school system because, thank goodness praise, our society is changing and being gay is more and more accepted! Hence, we need more books who can help educate young, grown-up and old in these new questions. I do believe there has been an increase in information in the last couple of years, but easy access to good information should never be underestimated! Parents, siblings, friends, and everybody needs help occasionally when difficult questions arise. These new questions and complications in society require a change. However, as Anja and Gro both experiences, our society is sometimes rather slow to follow these changes. This book was published back in 2014, so I just assume things have changed since then, and Mio was born 2012 so hopefully, changes have been made since then.
Anja + Gro = Mio will stir your feelings whilst reading. I laughed several times and I was also on the brink of tears when they got the news that Mio was conceived. The chapters alter, like I said, between Anja’s and Gro’s perspective and most of the chapters are rather short with a good and clear language. This makes it easier for the reader to engage, but you’re, or at least I was, left with very few unanswered questions that arose while I read the book. Most of the questions that arose were answered during the book, and other questions arose, later on, so I’ll have to research those on my own 😊 Anja and Gro are both very open and honest about this experience, what was difficult, how they dealt with it, and what worked for them. What is rather great is that you can read the differences within the way they express themselves through their reading, and I feel like this is another factor that adds to the personal impression they give their readers. This is not a ‘how-to-do-book’, it’s their personal story, but I suppose it could be viewed as a book containing suggestions for how you can move towards the dream of a child if you are a gay couple. No matter how you view it, this book is important, gay or not.
Anja + Gro = Mio is a great read for young and old. We need literature like this that can educate our modern society in, for many, unfamiliar and unknown. I don’t think I can recommend it enough, and the length isn’t a problem because this little beauty is only 174 pages long! Therefore, if you’re looking for a short, educational, funny and interesting read – this is a great suggestion from me to you!
Theme: Family, LGBT rights, dreams
Link to talk show: Anja and Gro – Complete without balls
– The Book Reader