Tuesday, 14 August 2012

My Summer Read - The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner

When I picked this book out I didn't actually play proper attention to what I was buying, this is often the case now I've got kids, it's hard to spend the amount of time I used to spend researching a book and checking out reviews. Luckily I managed to pick something very readable and I tore through it in two days, unable to put it down.

The Two Week Wait is based around two women's journies to achieve parenthood. Both women have two very different reasons for wanting to go through IVF, Cath is a Cancer surviver with no ovaries and Lou is a lesbian who after having a health scare realises she wants children and her time is running out. These two women's lives are entwined in a way that they will never know when they both go to the same fertility clinic and opt to 'egg share'.

I liked the characters in this book, they were down to earth and I could empathise with their situations - more so with the situation of Cath as I've known people going through IVF and it's a long and hard road and the portrayal of hers and Rich's journey is so real. As a character Cath has already been through so much with her Cancer that you're constantly willing everything to go right for her. When she spirals out of control, over thinking the IVF and jumping ahead of herself assuming that a baby is a dead cert, you want to stop her and make her calm down and be realistic. But as is proven by the forums that Cath and Lou both go on, most women do go manic during 'the two week wait' - which is the length of time women should wait before doing a pregnancy test after artificial insemination. Apart from the main female characters I also like the portraits of their families, particularly Lou's mother, a very staid and seemingly old fashioned woman who on finding out her lesbian daughter is pregnant surprises everyone by saying she is pleased and gives a really honest speech about how she has felt since her daughter revealed details of her sexuality. There is a real fondness there as there also is between Cath and her mother Judy.

The one character I didn't like was Cath's sister in law who expresses some opinions about IVF that I know a lot of people do hold but that I find really unfathomable. She is against it for how 'unnatural' it is and asks Cath if she's ever thought about practising 'acceptance'? Very easy for a woman to say who had two children of her own naturally!

The plot flits between both protaganists but not in such a way that you can't keep up with the story, we see how their lives are similar with the experiences they are going through and unbeknown to them they also reply to one another on a fertility forum. Lou's thoughts are never far from thinking about how recipient is getting on. This is partly attributable to her being quite selfless but also because she is thinking about her donated egg, underlining that she doesn't lose the connection with the fertilized egg - it is still a part of her.

What I didn't realise is that this is the second book from Sarah Rayner and I had no idea until I'd finished it that the characters are from her first book. Just goes to show that I didn't need to read that one to enjoy this one and I will look out her debut novel to find out the story that preceeded this one. I'd recommend this as it is a page turner and I did get sucked in to find out what Cath and Lou's journey held for them. I won't spoil it here, I'll leave it to you to read the book.

I've written this review as part of the special summer edition of the Tots100 Book Club, in association with Tesco Books. If you like the sound of The Two Week Wait it can be purchased at Tesco Books 

Thanks for inviting me to join in! Click the badge below to see other entries to the Summer Book challenge.

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