I gave this book 5 stars on my Goodreads app. I really liked it.
So when I first started reading this I was very confused on what was going on. There are 4 different main characters and I started reading this at the end of the day after being with my kids all day so it took me a minute to figure out who was who and what was happening. you have:
1. The Biographer: Her name is Roberta Stephens and she wants a baby so badly. She’s also writing a novel about a Polar explorer who is kind of the tie who pulls all the ladies together as a metaphorical representation of each woman. Ro is also a teacher and finds out that one of her teenage students is pregnant.
2. The Daughter: Matilda Quarles who is the student who finds out she’s pregnant. She doesn’t know what to do and she’s terrified. The way she feels about her unborn child upset me. She refers to it as a lump of cells. I know that not every woman wants a baby and they should have the right to make that choice but as a mom it made me sad for her to think of it as an ‘invader’. I have never been her position though so I don’t know what it’s like to be young, pregnant and afraid.
3. The Mender: Gin Percival is considered a witch and many girls in the town go to her to terminate their pregnancies since abortion became illegal. Leni did a great job describing this character and really brought her to life for me. She is visited by Matilda but the reader finds out a special connection between the two.
4. The Wife: Susan Korsmo is a mother of two and the wife of the French teacher Didier, who works with Ro. Susan is unhappy in her marriage. Mattie also babysits for her at times. She really wants to leave her marriage but she is too afraid. She is the only character that actually has children, some would argue that she was ungrateful.
Overall I thought it was a really good look into what life would be like if abortion was illegal. It touches on the dangers of home or illegal abortions and how desperate some girls will get to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. At times it made me angry how these women are being shoved into a corner and not able to fight back.
I could appreciate the wife’s perspective of feeling like she does most of the work with the kids. I, thankfully, have an awesome husband who is a great dad but the majority of the kid stuff falls on me to take care of.
I also appreciated how the biographer was jealous of Susan’s post pregnancy body. She mentions how her body had made a person and all the stretch marks and flabby skin were worth it. She wanted her body to be like that. It made me fell better about my post pregnancy body to think that someone could actually be jealous of that.
The writing style was very simple, it was very straight to the point. I’m not sure if I liked it. My favorite character was definitely Gin Percival.
My favorite line:
“The bleat of the owl, chirp of the bat, squeak of the ghost of the varying hare. This is how Percivals do.”
Have you read this one? What do you think?