*** About the Book ***
Fifteen years ago Ali and Benny were struggling to have a baby together. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was a new thing at the time and the couple decided to give it a shot. When Ali’s best friend Cora volunteered to donate her own eggs to the process, Ali was thrilled. Eventually Ali have birth to a beautiful daughter, Letty. Benny and Ali have raised Letty to understand the entire process that led to her birth, and to have a close relationship with “Aunt Cora” whenever she is in town.
Now Letty is a teenager and things are changing. She is sneaking out, seeing a boyfriend her parents don’t know about, and generally heading down the wrong path. And Cora is back in town for an unexplained visit, hiding a huge secret from Ali and her family. What does all this have to do with IVF? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!
*** Why I Read It ***
Kristy Kiernan wrote a book called MATTERS OF FAITH that I read a while back. She did an excellent job portraying the realities of living with a child who has severe food allergies. [In case you are new here, Kiddo has enormous food allergy issues.] When we exchanged emails after her interview on my blog, she mentioned that her next book dealt with fertility issues. I immediately asked to review it when it came out because this is yet another subject that I have firsthand experience with. If you want to read about my personal fertility issues, I’ve included it bit at the bottom of this post (but feel free to skip that part if you don’t want to know that much about me!).
*** My Thoughts ***
I don’t often read books like this - contemporary fiction, women’s literature, or whatever you want to call it – but every once in a while something catches my attention. With this book it was the subject matter and the fact that it came from an author I trust. And she didn’t let me down.
The story is told in alternating points of view by Ali, Cora, and Letty. I enjoyed getting to know each of these women and learning about the important people in their lives. From time to time one of them would say or do something and I would think, “Aha! I know EXACTLY what that feels like.”* There was even a point toward the end of the book that made me cry – and that never happens. [For those who’ve read it, it was the letter right near the end.]
I was quite surprised to realize that this book deals with a lot more than fertility issues; that, in fact, IVF is almost the background for a larger story. I can’t tell you one of the topics that it goes into or I’d spoil the story for you, but it does deal with teen sexuality and family dynamics as well as friendship and of course fertility.
On the whole I really enjoyed this book. The ending might have been a bit to “neat” for me but that is the biggest complaint I can come up with. It was a quick and easy read and it definitely gave me some things to think about.
* After I wrote this I looked by at my review of MATTERS OF FAITH and realized that I used almost the same words in that review. It just goes to prove that Kristy is consistently good at conveying a reality that I can identify with!
*** Your Thoughts ***
Do you read books about issues you’re dealing with in your own life? If so, do you go with fiction or non-fiction? Do you find that it helps? In what way?
*** My IVF Experience ***
In case you are wondering, here’s what my husband and I have gone through in the fertility arena.
- It took over a year to get pregnant with Kiddo, which we eventually did without “assistance”.
- Two years after he was born, I still hadn’t been able to get pregnant again.
- We tried fertility medication … 8 times. This stuff made my psycho. Literally.
- We tried artificial insemination … 3 times. This required a few shots and a few minor medical procedures.
- We tried IVF … 2 times. This required an enormous amount of shots and several surgeries. Plus I had repeated allergic reactions to one of the injectable medications.
- The 2nd IVF resulted in a miscarriage extremely early on, before I knew for sure I was pregnant. That was about four years ago or so.
- At this point we have no more insurance coverage for fertility treatments, and no confidence that it would work anyway.
- We also have 2 frozen embryos that we are continuing to pay to keep in storage. We can’t decide what to do with them – look for a surrogate to carry them (if they are even viable) or try to implant them in me (without much hope of success).
And that’s my story, for those of you who wanted to know ...