Date: July 12th 2016
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate's skirt with a mirror. While they've been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can't help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.
She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah's heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it's Kate's turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah's surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.
The Choices We Make by Karma Brown is a deeply moving, enriching story. At the end of the book in the questions about her and her writing she says she often writes about what scares her. She is drawn to exploring tragedy in life and the courage that people draw on to rebound from it.
She writes this firstly from her own experience of being unable to become pregnant because of illness and the offer that her own sister made that changed her life. So she brings a reality to this story from a deep experiencing and knowing.
However from there she obviously says... what if? And believe me she comes up with a scenario that that puts every character and you the reader through an emotional wringer. No doubt herself as well. The tone for the story is set at the very beginning when we are alerted to an emergency - and then we back track in time some months to what has gone before.
This is a book that explores grief and loss and the see-sawing extremes this can lead to. It also explores motherhood, parenthood and deep friendship. It looks at what happens when severe stress is put on relationships - and what part love plays when others do not act in ways we had hoped. However ultimately it is also a story of healing and hope. The two times I felt the tears welling were in such moments and both times involved two men.
This is a book that would be excellent for book club reading, there would be so much to talk about. Mostly though it is a book that explores emotions, and those too are good to talk about. After all it helps to read about what scares us as well.