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About the Book

About the Book

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet

When the award-winning nonfiction author Melissa Fay Greene confided to a friend that she planned to adopt a 4-year-old boy from Bulgaria to add to her four children at home, the friend snapped: “Who made you the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe?” Three years later, as Melissa and her husband, Don Samuel, prepared to adopt a 5-year-old girl from Ethiopia, she sensed that her friends now regarded her as “one of 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 69 children in 18th-century Russia.” When the number of children hit nine, Melissa took a break from reporting and trained her journalist’s eye upon events at home. Fisseha was riding a bike down the stairs; a squirrel was sitting on Jesse’s head; vulgar posters were going up on bedroom walls; the insult “niftam” (Amharic 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 Melissa. “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, a relishing of moments hilarious and poignant, and a treasury of hard-won wisdom, No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is a loving portrait of a unique 21st-century family as it wobbles between disaster and joy.

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
by Melissa Fay Greene

  • Publication Date: April 12, 2011
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
  • ISBN-10: 0374223068
  • ISBN-13: 9780374223069