Author: Anne Tel
The story, told in quasi-diary form, of Anne’s romance with Frank and her repeated attempts to become pregnant, resulting in IVF treatment.
This (true) story is naturally suspenseful, as we wait, like the narrator, for the result of her latest attempt to become pregnant. In this context, the diary format is ideal, allowing for a mixture of detailed events and general reflections, but without the sense of being pushed in a particular narrative direction. The only small disadvantage with the format is the difficulty of knowing at a glance the time-gap between each entry, which varies from a matter of days to many months.
The ups and downs of the story are helped enormously by a very vivid authorial voice: sharp-witted, fun-loving and warmly humorous; insightfully self-aware but not without her fair share of stubbornness. The necessarily detailed gynaecological elements are presented candidly and without embarrassment, which in itself is a major advance over how the same subject is often approached in this country. Although the medical procedures presented are specifically Dutch, there is enough overlap with how IUI and IVF are administered in this country for this not to be a concern.
The copy is very clean and the book has been skilfully translated into idiomatic English. In view of the book’s success in the author’s native Holland, the interest of the subject matter and the intrinsic quality of the work, the recommendation is to offer the author a publishing contract.