The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner

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The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner

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Buy The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Revisiting some familiar characters, this book takes us on a fraught journey of infertility treatment for 2 women. A juicy page-turner that you'll want to swallow up whole.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Picador
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0330544092

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Up in Yorkshire , Cath and Rich aren’t sure their future can include children following her major illness, which would be ok if she didn’t want a baby so badly. In Brighton, Lou hasn’t had quite the same infertility issues but has problems of her own that might get in the way of the tick tock of her body clock. The two women don’t know each other, and in spite of what you might expect, don’t get to know each other, but their stories sit side by side in this tale of the trials and tribulations of fertility treatment.

This is a book with a very specific focus and has lots of specialised concepts the average reader may or may not be familiar with: IVF as a whole, but also egg sharing, sperm washing, ICSI and donor insemination. Although ultimately it’s about the relationships of the couples and their nearest and dearest, the research that’s gone into writing it is clear and appreciated by the reader. It’s not too graphic, and I can’t imagine a female audience being unsettled by any of the details though men could perhaps grimace at the (perfectly plausible) descriptions of knicker checking and the practicality of wearing black pants.

I was sucked into this story immediately and read it over a long weekend when I was supposed to be on holiday. It’s one I was reluctant to put down because the developments kept coming one after another which, combined with the constant switching of viewpoint between the couples and the progressive use of the present tense, made for a fast-paced read. I liked how real it seemed with raw emotions left as is, without a glossy Hollywood finish. It would have been easy to have the women meet, either accidentally or deliberately, for example, but I respected the story more because it didn’t make that forced encounter.

Eagle eyed readers of Rayner’s earlier novel, One Moment One Morning, might be wondering whether she’s a bit unimaginative when it comes to place names and people names, but that’s not the case as this is a quasi-follow up to that title. Some of the characters – Lou, Karen, Anna and the kids – are back but others – Cath, Rich, the insufferable Sukey – are making an appearance for the first time. The focus of this story is completely different so there’s no need to read the other one first, but if like me you enjoyed it, you’ll not be disappointed by the new developments in The Two Week Wait.

And yes, that Two Week Wait. It threw me a little because I knew the book contained cancer references, and the term has a specific meaning within the NHS in terms of cancer. Here, though, it’s used in a different context that perhaps surprisingly doesn’t get explained for the first 200 pages. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, just a little odd as so much of the book is about the process before, not the results of, this period.

I’ve not had first-hand experience of infertility, but I’ve heard the stories of many who have through my line of work. The topic is a tricky one as it’s just so personal, but this book struck me as sensitively written, wasn’t preachy, and seemed to balance optimism and reality well. It’s perhaps not the heavy read you might expect it to be, but it has wide appeal, is interesting and educating as well as entertaining, and kept me hooked from page 1. It’s on the long side but I think it copes well with it, and I adored the ending. Highly recommended.

Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this book.

Precious Babies: Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting after Infertility by Kate Brian does what it says on the tin and gets full marks from our reviewer, while Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs is back in the realm of fiction and also covers the tricky world of IVF, albeit in much less detail than this one.

Buy The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner at Amazon.com.

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