Book Review: The Gift by Rachel Newcomb


The Gift (click book for description)
By Rachel Newcomb
Downloaded free on 8/22/13

Finish Time:  6 nights.  I chose this book for a few reasons.  This book addresses the subject of infertility.  It goes through the options/treatments Elise and Peter had weighed and/or undergone.  The latest decision, and subject of this book is to find an egg donor.  A controversial topic debated under religion, politics, and other venues.  The book didn’t get into any of that though.  But infertility is something I have personally gone through and have watched many others as well.  Some with happy endings, some with stories still “to be continued.”  So a topic that intrigues me.

The book doesn’t go much into the history of Peter and Elise, just states that IVF (in-vitro) would have a small chance of taking, so they decided (or maybe just Elise) to pursue an egg donor via a newspaper ad.  Conveniently they live in a college town (Princeton) where there happen to be some “starving” college kids.  One of those being Celia.  Celia came from a single-parent family who once lived the American dream, only to have it all taken away from them.  Now at Princeton, she is trying to redeem that fall and again pursue the rags to riches dream.

Elise and Peter are not the most likable characters, or at least I didn’t find them to be.  They both are living off of family money as Elise recently quit a lucrative editing job to pursue starting a family which annoys her grad student husband, Peter, as he is writing his never-ending dissertation on the Middle East.  Some points were dragged on by discussions on this topic, which (ignorantly) didn’t hold my interest.  I think the author tried very hard to make all the characters come off very intellectual, but it sometimes bored the reader (IMHO).

While the writing was good, I just found myself annoyed at the characters for most of the book.  The marriage of Elise and Peter was not a good one and they think a child would make it better (#$%^?).  Why would a reader root for a couple that clearly needed to work on their own relationship to bring another person into that dysfunction!  Obviously a sensitive topic for me, and maybe that is what the author wanted?  Who knows.  The book ended how it should, but was another one of those that I didn’t feel satisfied.  I was glad it ended but felt it could have had so much potential to help couples dealing with infertility and maybe looking into egg donation. But it just ended up kind of depressing.  Probably would not recommend.

On to something new now!

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