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Book Review: 'An Empty Lap: One Couple's Journey to Parenthood'

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Who knew that the fertility problems of two Time Inc. journalists who call themselves each other’s ”favorite playmate” could be so engrossing? Smolowe, a freelance journalist and former TIME staffer, writes with easy intimacy about what she and her husband, Joe Treen, an assistant managing editor at PEOPLE, went through to adopt their Chinese-born daughter, Becky, now 3. Her unromanticized understanding of what it takes for two highly opinionated adults to work through some of couplehood’s most stressful challenges is what gives this book its appeal. In her unlabored ability to discuss just about anything — sex, squabbles, the late-30s-and-what’s-it-all-about blues of sophisticated ’90s women — Smolowe makes compelling general-interest reading out of a special-interest subject. A-