Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review of Sara's Laughter

Sara's Laughter by Tom Milton is about 35 year-old Sara who has endometriosis and cannot conceive a child. She and her husband really want to have their own children and will try whatever they can, up to a point. Sara is a devout Catholic and does not want to overstep her religious boundaries. Technology is frowned upon, though it would probably be her only hope.

Sara's mother had always admonished her for waiting so long to get married. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to conceive. Her father is still blinded by his prejudice against her Latino husband and insists there shouldn't be any problems. For a while, she can find some comfort in her best friend Regina, who is also having difficulty conceiving a baby.

A dream in which God tells Sara's husband that she is going to have a baby keeps Sara's hopes alive. When her sister Becky gets pregnant from an extramarital affair, it seems like her prayers are answered. After all, Becky never wanted children and really does not want this one. When Becky decides to change her plan of action, Sara's rage and frustration brings out a crazy side of her that she never knew existed.

I chose this book to review from BookCrash because I thought I could possibly relate to the main character's situation. It was an easy read, which I completed within a few hours spread out over a few days. I did not, however, relate to the intense religious debate. I was brought up in Protestant churches and using technology to facilitate contraception has never been a topic of discussion. I was able to relate to the frustration of not being able to have the family about which you have dreamed your entire life.

Sara gets herself into a precarious situation, that takes you somewhat by surprise. Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that I did not forsee her situation. But once it was introduced, I had somewhat of an idea of which direction it would turn. Her situation seems rather far-fetched, but has probably happened to people in the past. It is a situation that would spark some hot debate in some book reading groups. (And the author has included his own book club guide in the back of the book in addition to an interview with him.)

I felt like the ending wrapped up too quickly and too nicely. Then again, miracles do happen in this world. Another difficulty I had with the book was the constant moving back and forth between the past and the present. I appreciated the background knowledge about Sara's relationship with her husband. But the flashbacks were interspersed in such a way that I often had to back up to determine whether it was a current situation or a flashback. Even some subtle differences in the formatting would have created more clarity. Instead of a row of asterisks or even a different chapter, there was just a little extra spacing. And some of the information presented in Sara's past seemed to directly contradict her beliefs and decisions that she has to make during the present story.

That all being said, I did actually enjoy reading most of the book.

I received a complimentary copy from the author via BookCrash, in exchange for my honest review.

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