After Christmas I went on a shopping spree on Amazon because I got a gift certificate and was more than ready to use it. Hell, I’ve been born ready to spent money on Amazon. One of the items in my shopping cart was she newest novel by Kerry Reichs.
You’ve read my gushing on and on about her previous book and if you haven’t, well, you must be new around here. I was excited to finally read this and also a little bit worried if it could live up to my expectations.
The style of the book is different from her previous ones. It’s a multi-character story, so every chapter focusses on a different character. What unites them is their wish to become parents only they are not what anyone would call a traditional family. Far from it. There is the 40-year old actress named Dimple, 50-year old Wyatt who is a high school principle and Maryn the breast cancer survivor who is now sterile. All of them are single and struggle with the prospects of a society that sees family as a mom and dad and kids. Not a single mother. Especially not a single heterosexual man trying to adopt a baby. He surely must be a pedophile, why would he want to have kids?
Throw a couple of other characters into the mix, like Wyatt’s cousin who is healthy and fertile as you can be but never wanted kids and doesn’t change her mind and you’ve got yourself a story. Just imagine, there are women out there who don’t want children, it is possible. Then there is Maryn’s ex-husband whom she is suing for the right to use the eggs they harvested, fertilised and stored in a cryobank before beginning chemotherapy. Andy is against it for reasons I don’t quite understand. He also starts to run for city council and that turns into an ugly mess soon. Last but not least we have director Julian who challenges Dimple to go out of her comfort zone in order to get a role.
In the beginning I struggled a little bit with the jump from one character to the other. I’m not used to so many players in the mix but once I settled into the story I was fine. I really liked the story, the characters and the message it sent. There is more to a family than a mom and a dad. Also, I just love Kerry’s writing style.
There were just some minor things that irritated me, mostly for personal reasons. First of all, when Dimple refers to her libido or inner whatever as LaMimi I’m instantly reminded of 50 Shades of Grey and Ana’s inner goddess. So that’s a dealbreaker. Then there is the legal aspect of Maryn suing Andy over the use of their embryos. Eh, I read about that at length in ‘Sing You Home’ by Jodi Picoult even if it had different circumstances. Also, I’m not that into legal matters. As I said, minor hiccups.
What I liked though was the mention of one character from Leaving Unknown, Laura/Lola, the girl that works at the studios in LA. She is mentioned once but I saw it as a treat and was happy that I recognised her. It’s just a funny occurrence. Then there is the matter that the Reichs women must think Summer is THE name of the rebound wife. Andy’s second wife is named Summer and if I remember correctly, so is the fiancé of Pete who is Tempe Brennan’s ex-husband in the novels by Kerry’s mother, Kathy Reichs.
In the end, all characters come together through different circumstances. It’s heartbreaking and bittersweet but also a good ending. I liked where the book went and not everything turned out exactly as I expected which is always a plus.
There is a Q&A at the end of the book and there is one excerpt I want to share with you because it’s so nice and sad and great and… It’s a letter from one of the characters. It’s not a part of the book but something Kerry envisioned for the character.
I had a second chance to do everything I wanted, but that is rare. Never wait to be asked twice to dance. Dance. Laugh often. Be noisy. Hug your father. Do something every day that doesn’t make rational sense. Be joyful, though you considered all the facts. Love freely, and love those who don’t deserve it. Do a selfless thing each day. Every day won’t be the best day in your life, but that’s okay. If someone were to tell you the world would end tomorrow, plant a tree. Most of all, don’t be afraid of risk. If you open yourself to opportunities, fortuities will land on your shoulder like birds. The only thing that holds you back in life is yourself. I give you permission. Go for it.
Reading this made me cry all over again after I was done crying about the actual book. Maybe it’s wrong to measure the quality of a book by the fact if it made me cry or not but that’s juts how I roll. If I cried, it means the story touched me enough to make me care – to be a catalyst for the feelings I cannot let free on my own.
This is a story about wanting to have kids without having the opportunity to do so on your own. It’s about health that is not distributed fairly and most importantly, it’s a story about family values. A kid can grow up happy having just a single parent, or two mommies or two daddies as long as it’s cared and loved for. There’s nothing more that matters.