The Book Club: Community reviews
The iVillage.co.uk Book Club has been a roaring success, with users signing up, reading and commenting on some fantastic books provided by Pan Macmillan. A handful of our much-loved and much-valued Community Leaders have had their say also. Here are their considered words...
I scanned the story outline on the back of The Playdate by Louise Millar and my first thought was that it was not my type of book at all. They do say never judge a book by it's cover and once I actually started reading it, I was instantly hooked. I carried it around with me and was reading every moment I got, even while waiting for the kettle to boil. It was impossible to put down. And those twists and turns - the actual ending was just a complete and utter surprise. It was really gripping. I would really recommend this book, it certainly isn't chick lit. I shall be checking my library for any other books written by Louise Millar.
I enjoyed The Playdate by Louise Millar. It is probably not my usual style of book but I enjoyed it very much. It was fast-paced, with some good twists, some were easy to spot but a few I definitely did not see coming. I enjoyed it as a normal 'bedtime' read but it would be great as a holiday book or reading on the bus, tube etc. It is easy to pick back up again if you do have to put it down (which at times I found difficult to do). I usually read a few books at the same time but this managed to grasp me enough to have me concentrate on just this one.
There were a variety of themes in the book, the strongest being those of friendship, relationships, infidelity and jealousy, with probably the most important one being 'first Impressions'. It was very obvious that the author is a woman as the 'feeling' of the women as friends was very realistic and the characters were easy to relate to individually as well as with each other. I found all the characters worked well together and I liked the fact that the book put the name of the character at the start of the chapter so you knew who you were dealing with.
In a way it would have been nice to see things from Tom and Jez's point of view too but that is probably my only criticism, albeit a very small one. I can recommend this book with confidence to not only mothers but anyone who enjoys a fast-paced book with lots of action and twists and turns. I could see the book as a film as it definitely has the story to back it up. It would make a very good 'Notting Hill' style British Film.
To be completely honest I'm not sure whether I enjoyed Lola's Secret by Monica McInerney or not. I found it hard going at the start, then as the individual 'guests' progressed and developed I started to really enjoy it. However this was 'ruined' (for want of a better phrase) part way through and it felt like it was no longer the same book, which was a disappointment for me. So, to be brutally honest I enjoyed the second and third quarters but am unsure about the first and fourth.
The strongest theme is probably Lola, the eccentric, lovable grandmother who cares very deeply for her family, has good old-fashioned family values and views and has many funny quirks. I found myself smiling a few times as some of the 'lines' she said I could see my late grandmother saying to me. There are strong 'family' relationships and problems through Lola's family and the motel guests.
All in all I feel like I started to hear seven or eight stories and came away with the conclusion to one. I felt a bit deflated at the end, like 'is that it?', and I'm not convinced that I was hooked enough to find out whether the next book will answer them. I wouldn't rule out anything from this author in the future as some of the book I enjoyed but I don't think I will rush out to be the first to read them either.
The Two Week Wait by Saray Rayner really struck a chord with me. I suffer from endometrosis which has affected my fertility and so there were so many of the emotions talked about in the book that hit home for me. The book made me cry it was so well written, the story was excellent and the emotional descriptions spot on. It had just the right balance of good and bad news, and for the couple using the doner eggs, reading about their story and the journey they went on after the first cycle failed and the second cycle ended sadly, really hit home.
The decision not to have children is a tough one but one so many people are forced to make. The way the book was written was so realistic and really took me into their journey. The only thing that let the book down was that it really didn't touch on the drug regime that IVF patients face, the side effects of these and also the daily contact with the clinic after egg collection and the heartbreak when eggs die and pass away. Overall though a very good read, could do with elements that were a bit realistic but really tugged my heart strings.
The Two Week Wait by Saray Rayner gives such a real-life reflection on what people actually go through to have children. You really do feel for Cath having been through cancer treatment and then is desperate for a child she can't have naturally. You feel as if you are living the two week wait with the characters and cant wait to find out if the IVF has worked or not. You feel really happy for Lou, who the treatment works for first time, and at the same time you are sad for Cath who it didn't work for. The ending surprised me as I did expect Cath to have her dream child but instead she takes a different route and instead of using the money for another round of IVF she decides to start up her own business. Such a great story!
When I read The Two Week Wait by Saray Rayner I hadn’t realised that it was, in fact, a sequel. But the fact that I didn’t notice means that, to my mind at least, it didn’t matter. I enjoyed this book a lot. The characters were all believable and I felt empathy with all of them at some point. The subject matter, IVF and egg-sharing, may be a little controversial to some but I felt that Sarah Rayner approached it with a great deal of pathos to all concerned, be it the women who were so desperate for children or those who couldn’t understand their desire to procreate, regardless of the means.
Her style of writing is gentle and easy to read yet the story moves at a very reasonable pace with some interesting twists and turns along the way. There are definitely plenty of moments to get the hankies out but also some very uplifting, positive and exciting ones too. Overall, I found it an uncomplicated and enjoyable read.
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