When you see a baby stroller, do you think: I’ve got to see that cute baby?
Or: That thing is really in my way!
Perhaps: I can’t believe I have to lug this thing in and out of my car.
Amanda Parrish Morgan saw a stroller and thought: Book idea!
The 2000 Staples High School graduate earned a history degree from the University of Chicago, and a master’s in English literature from American University.
She taught English first at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, then at Staples from 2011 to ’14. (She was a cross country and track coach at her alma mater too, through 2017.)
Morgan also taught writing through Westport’s Continuing Education program and the Connecticut Writing Project. Her current gigs are at the Westport Writers’ Workshop and Fairfield University.
Writers are readers. Morgan was intrigued by “Object Lessons.” The essay (The Atlantic) and book (Bloomsbury) series explores a single object — a driver’s license, golf ball or shipping container, say — through a variety of approaches, often in unexpected ways.
As the mother of 2 young children, Morgan was very familiar with strollers. She also realized that although there are many parenting books, most are either “how-to or cheesy, isn’t-this-so-wonderful.”
Very few look at parenthood from a “cultural, emotional and societal” lens.
Bloomsbury liked the idea. The book — “Stroller” — will be published October 20.
Morgan runs with the idea of a stroller — literally. A runner herself, she examines society’s twin expectations of female athletes: They should be good mothers (running with their strollers), while also getting back to competition as quickly as possible.
Morgan also explores the metaphor of pushing a child away in a stroller, while keeping them close. She examines the consumerism and status symbol role of strollers; their history; even strollers in art and literature (who knew?).
Writing about strollers pushed Morgan to think about other mobility-aid devices, like wheelchairs. She realized the similarities between navigating Grand Central and subways with a stroller and in a wheelchair — and then studied other nations’ approaches.
“The US is child-centric, but not child-friendly,” she says. “Germany is the opposite.”
“Stroller” straddles the line between memoir and a research-based study. “Some people may wish it was more of one, or more of the other,” she admits.
But “Object Lessons” is a wildly popular series.
Reviewers like “Stroller” too. One said it “compellingly depicts the history and taxonomy of this most weighty and unruly device, ally, and antagonist.”
Morgan looks forward to area readings and book signings, including Barnes & Noble in Westport November 12.
Strollers are welcome.
(For more information on “Stroller,” including how to order, click here.)
(“06880” often highlights local authors and the accomplishments of Staples graduates — sometimes like this, one and the same. Please click here to support our work.)