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A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell" by Robert Dugoni
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What I loved: the characters are beautifully drawn, the reader can totally relate to the pain and frustration of each woman, the whole "grass is always greener syndrome," as well as showing how silly the whole "Mommy wars" are.
What slowed me down: they aren't stories, per se, with a beginning, middle, and end, more a pastiche of these women's lives. And though they are connected via their shared readers' group, there isn't an "a-ha!" moment where each realizes the grass ISN'T greener on the other side.
An interesting debut book from an author I am sure will continue to offer interesting work as time goes on.
Anne Jacobson and Sarah Anderson both thought they had achieved the happily ever dream; they married the "prince" and life should play out perfectly. But now they are both faced with difficult realities.
Sarah Anderson has two beautiful children and a husband,who at first, is driven to succeed so he can give his family the things he thinks they want. But Tom loses himself in his work and Sarah gets lost in motherhood and the relationship starves. Truthfully, this often happens in life.
The husband sidesteps his parental responsibilities ( changing dirty diapers, wiping snotty noses, cleaning up vomit, comforting a sick or just plain whiney child), and society justifies his actions and honours his hard work.
The wife and mother throws herself into her role wholeheartedly; that is considered doing her job. She gives and gives of herself until she is utterly depleted as a person. Very often the only people who recognize what is happening to her are the women who have walked in her shoes.
Sarah loves her children, but comes to resent that Tom is never there to carry his share of the load at home. Tom resents that she has lost herself and immersed herself totally in the children. They both grow numb and accept their roles. They carry on and the chasm between them widens. Neither one of them take a stand; life just carries on and each member of the family unit loses out on the basic benefits of a balanced relationship.
Anne and John are married and in love. They have both enjoyed their careers, but time has crept up on them. Now the only thing they need to complete the perfect picture is as child; actually children.
They have been trying to get pregnant for two years but that goal has been defeated by an unknown infertility problem. Anne becomes obsessed with the need to have a child. It takes over her life. She loses sight of the wonderful things she has. She talks of nothing else and everything she does is driven by her unanswered need to have a child. She sees herself as a biological failure and feels that John blames her.
In my opinion, John is very understanding and supportive of her need, but in time he feels that they have to accept reality. However, Anne will not concede to this cruel twist of fate. She is determined to carry on with her pursuit, even if it bankrupts them emotionally and financially.
When Anne finally is driven to her knees by one more failure to become pregnant she knows she cannot bear the pain anymore. She is devastated and she pushes John farther away.
I certainly did not condone John's actions, but I did feel sorry for him. He did not set out to do more harm, but he made an irrevocable mistake, driven by his own pain, his own insecurities and the circumstances. John and Anne might have been able to work that problem out, if the result of it hadn't shredded the last remnant of Anne's self esteem, proving to her that she had been the defective link in their problem.
Berner exposed the raw pain and frustrations in Anne and Sarah's lives. Almost any woman who has been in a serious relationship can sympathize with what is happening to both of them. Either of these two women could be us, our daughter, our sister, our best friend or our neighbour.
Different people have different challenges in life, and every one of them deals with their challenge in their own way. Berner made these people so real that I couldn't help getting emotionally invested in them. For me this was not a "feel good" story.(I don't believe in the fairy tale perfect version of relationships, but I am a happy endings person). As an "arm chair psychologist" I was saddened by the choices they made; the things they allowed to happen. Both scenarios could have ended so differently, but as often happens in real life, they didn't.
For me this story was a well written shot of reality. I think we all need that once in a while. I would give this 4 stars for writing skills, but this book left me saddened;wanting something more. My God! How ironic is that!
Karen Wojcik Berner's book A Whisper to a Scream was a very good book. The author has created a story which many women can relate to and the book covers many issues which can be quite painful for women: infertility, choosing carrier versus having a family, being a stay-at-home-mom, marriage problems. In enjoyed the writing style which was easy to read, the narrative and the characters.
Regarding the plot:
A Whisper to a Scream introduces the reader to two main characters who seem to come from totally different world: Sarah, who is staying at home with two small kids and Annie who has so far chosen the carrier and would finally love to have kids, but needs to deal with infertility issues.
The lives and portrays of these two women are drawn as the stories goes, the reader gets to know the details of both Annie's and Sarah's lives, problems, challenges. Before they meet with each other reader already knows what problems they are facing.
What I loved about the plot was the way Annie and Sarah meet and how they seem so different in the beginning: Sarah has everything what Annie needs, but cannot get and Annie has the freedom which Sarah has forgotten about. Through the story they realize it's all about choices and accepting the things that you cannot change and change the things you can.
I found the story was in one way heartbreaking and the other way heartwarming. I enjoyed their developing and the book was written in a way that made me feel for both women. I have never experienced personally what it means not to be able to get children, or what it means to stay at home with kids, but there were aspects from both women's life that I knew and that made it extra enjoyable. It was believable and taken out of the real life and that is the reason what made it a very good read for me.
Regarding the characters:
I loved the main characters, even though I have to admit there were times I wanted to shake them and bring them back to earth! I loved them and I was annoyed by them, but the things is and it is also what makes this book easy to relate to - the situations were taken out of real life! Many people have experienced problems and challenges with their marriage, many people know what it means to have in-laws who are different from you, and many people know how difficult it can be to find the balance in your life.
Annie is a woman who has always wanted to have children and when she is ready for family, she can't have what she wants. Infertility issues influence her life so much that she gets possessed about it. She forgets about the life around her and concentrates only about getting a baby. As mentioned above, I got so annoyed by her at times and couldn't wait until she realized that the only thing to is to accept the cruel facts. Even though I was annoyed by her, I loved her character. She was one heck of a determined woman.
Sarah is at first look very different from Annie - she has two kids already. Sarah is a woman who is so tired of being alone with kids. Yes, she loved her kids, but she is suffocated by the fact that her husband is never there to help her and that she does not have time for herself - it's all about kids and family.
The author did a fabulous job with the main characters and also with their families. I really enjoyed the lives of Annie and Sarah!
Be very careful what you wish for, you might get it... and not like it at all. Or you realize through the process, that the wish itself wasn't important, but the process itself and where the process leads you to.
I loved it and highly recommend A Whisper to a Scream to everybody who like contemporary literature!
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