I Know You Rider is Leslie Stein’s rumination on the many complex questions surrounding the decision to reproduce. Opening in an abortion clinic, the book accompanies Stein through a year of her life, steeped in emotions she was not quite expecting while also looking far beyond her own experiences. She visits with a childhood friend who’s just had twins and is trying to raise them as environmentally as possible, chats with another who’s had a vasectomy to spare his wife a lifetime of birth control, and spends Christmas with her own mother, who aches for a grandchild.
Through these melodically rendered conversations with loved ones and strangers, Stein weaves one continuing conversation with herself. She presents a sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, and always powerfully empathetic account, asking what makes a life meaningful and where we find joy amid other questions—most of which have no solid answers, much like real life.
Instead of focusing on trauma, I Know You Rider is a story about unpredictability, change, and adaptability, adding a much-needed new perspective to a topic often avoided or discussed through a black and white lens. People are ever changing, contradicting themselves, and having to deal with unforeseen circumstances: Stein holds this human condition with grace and humor, as she embraces the cosmic choreography and keeps walking, open to what life blows her way.