Who should read this book: Everyone. If you are struggling to have a family, if you know someone who is struggling to have a family, if poverty pulls on your heart, if you have ever dreamed of something better, this book is for you.
The story: On opposite sides of the world, two families dream of something better. A woman in the United States is desperate to have a child after losing baby after baby. A woman in India is desperate to find a way to send her gifted child to a good school and have a home with four walls. When both families hear about surrogacy, they have misgivings, but they also have dreams. Locked together by the hope for a baby’s new life and a hope for a life that is more than they could ever do alone, the two families will collide in a terrifying, exhilarating, and heartbreaking journey into what dreams may bring.
As someone who has gone through infertility, and watched friends go through it as well, this book’s strength lies in the pitch-perfect portrayal of the emotional journey that comes with being told you may not ever have a child. Incredibly moving is the inclusion of the partner’s journey as he watches his wife unable to conceive or keep a baby to term. Infertility is often written as a woman’s issue, a woman’s journey, but it is not just that. Marriages and love hang in the balance when everything turns upside down with the loss of a child, or the loss of a dream of family. This book could have a different cover and be marketed to men as well, because there are many good, good men who are struggling in their hearts along with their partners.
The ending paragraph seems to wrap everything up, but you leave the book with pieces of your heart unraveled and trailing behind. Wondering, thinking, feeling. The mark of a wonderful story.
I was provided a copy of this book by netgalley.com, but receive no compensation and am under no obligation to review the book. I have a towering pile of books on my nightstand, my bookcases are stuffed, and my wish-list is long, but I stopped everything to finish this book once I started reading.
When discussing this book:
Bring a piece of baby clothes to book club. Pass around the item as a way to make sure everyone participates. When the conversation slows, pass the baby item and the person who gets it next has to answer a question.
- Do you think that Asha was exploited?
- What would you do if you were Priya?
- Why did Madhu leave?
- What is the price of infertility on the person unable to get pregnant?
- What is the price of infertility on the person who watches their partner unable to get pregnant?
- What did you think of the title of the book?
- What did you think of the actual Home For Happy Mothers?
- Do you think the portrayal of the mothers’ treatment was realistic?
- Was there anything you had to look up to understand?
- How do you think Sush marrying a white man played into her relationship with her daughter?
- Where do you see Asha in five years? Do you think she will have another child? Will she return to the House of Happy Mothers?
- What about Priya and Madhu?
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