Today I'm happy to be bringing you a review of A Whisper to A Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner as part of WOW Blog Tours.
Title: A Whisper to A Scream
Author: Karen Wojcik Berner
Series: The Bibliophiles-Book One
Publication Date: March 20, 2010
Source: Provided by the author for the purposes of this blog tour
in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 3 Stars
Buy the Book: Amazon
Ovulation detectors. Hormone surges. Anxiety-ridden dreams. This is the world in which Annie Jacobs is thrust when she and her husband John receive a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. A 37-year old PR executive, Annie has wanted to be a mother since she first cuddled her Baby Tenderlove at age five. She is dreading another Christmas of relatives asking when they will be hearing the pitter patter of little feet, and Uncle Joe slapping John on the back, telling him to relax and take a cruise. Lots of people get pregnant on vacation, you know.
Across town, stay-at-home mom of two, Sarah Anderson, attempts grocery shopping with a toddler intent on hurling items from the cart at passersby. She notices a box of rice heading straight for a gray-haired head. Leaping across the aisle, Sarah grabs it, saving the woman from certain doom, or at least a minor head injury. Little Alex screams at being thwarted. The unknowing octogenarian shakes her head and admonishes Sarah for not knowing how to keep her child quiet in public.
"A Whisper to a Scream" is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry
This book speaks to all women. Those who have children and those who don't. And for those of us who are thinking about it in the future, it gives you a very detailed picture of what having children can be like, and what a struggle that being a parent can be at times. It also gives you a painful look at the issue of infertility and the effect that can have on a family and a marriage.
Both Sarah and Annie are women who are struggling, but for very different reasons. Sarah is struggling with being a mom, while her husband is away all the time. She's the one left raising the kids, and enduring the endless monotony of housework, dirty diapers, and late nights with the kids. Her husband Tom works hard, to provide for them, but as most parents know, something's gotta give. So, he's rarely home, and when he is, all he wants to talk about is work.
Sarah feels under appreciated because he doesn't acknowledge what she does, or offer to help out. Tom thinks that she should be grateful that he provides for them all the way that he does. He does change his ways to help at times when Sarah brings it up, but then his next big project comes up and he's back to working away for long stretches again, and Sarah gets frustrated and starts feeling trapped again.
I really felt for both of these characters. This was easy to do because the author painted such a clear picture of both ends of the spectrum that they were on. I could definitely understand Sarah's frustration at feeling under appreciated and like all she does is clean up after kids all day. I certainly wouldn't want to be in that position either.
And yet, I can also really feel for Annie's character as well. She really wants to be a mother, even though her own mother is less than caring. And it definitely has to be difficult to be surrounded by your husband's family who keep asking when you'll have children all the time. The infertility issues take a big toll on her well being, her marriage, and her work life.
I really appreciate the fact that the infertility issue was brought up directly to both Annie and John's family. The reactions were less than stellar, on the family's part but I'm glad that the author wrote these scenes to show that it is okay to talk about as important issues as infertility and that they don't have to be hidden away all the time.
Speaking of the families, it felt to me like Sarah and Annie should have swapped families and they would have been happier. Each seemed to have a personality more suited to the others' families or things that they would like better, although Sarah's relationship with her mother was very strong.
While the exposition of the issues is great, and very detailed, the dialogue can be a bit stiff at times, which took away from the reading experience for me. Not a whole lot, but it was slightly noticeable. The dialogue seemed too proper, and didn't flow well. It would have been okay if the proper dialogue was used only for certain characters, like Annie, or her mother because of their strained relationship and Annie's mother's need for everything to be perfect. But the stiffness occurred with each character so the flow wasn't quite as smooth as I was hoping for.
I liked the element of the book club in the story as well. It was great to see all the different members come together, somewhat awkwardly, and discuss great books. It was fun to see their different personalities, and to see how they all bonded with one another, particularly Sarah and Annie. I was hoping that the book club might play a more significant role, actually. Maybe it will in the next book in the series.
Another issue that I had with the book was the pacing towards the end, and the lack of resolution at the end. I felt like the book was somewhat unfinished somehow. There are the major events that happened for Annie (I won't say what they are so that I don't spoil them.) Then, it flashes forward to a year later and it doesn't really expand on what's happened to her since then. And I'm one of those people who just has to know what happens to people, especially with issues as serious as these.
Despite the issues I had with the book, I really appreciate its' ability to make me think. It's a great book for women who are on the fence about having kids. It may or may not sway you one way or another but it'll definitely give you an equally clear perspective on both sides of the coin about parenting and what that really entails.
I want to thank WOW Blog Tours for letting me be a part of the tour and allowing me to review this book*
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for this honest review.
Be sure to check out the contest that Karen is having on her website. Until the end of the tour, October 12, she is holding a giveaway where TEN lucky people can win a copy of A Whisper to a Scream