3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Sarah’s Story: Life after IVF is a novel by Danielle Aitken about a married couple trying to have a baby. After meeting and marrying Matt, her true love, Sarah's life becomes hectic. She and her new husband spend a number of years working and renovating their cottage by the sea. They shelve the idea of starting a family for later consideration. Finally, in their thirties, the couple begin trying for a baby. After more than a year of unsuccessful attempts to conceive, they consult doctors for the answers they seek, only to find no evidence of infertility in either of them. A while later, still childless, they decide to try IVF. Will this finally bring Sarah the happiness she seeks?
Written in the first person from Sarah’s point of view, Aitken told her story in neat, conversational English, making it easy to read and enjoy. Set out as a fictional autobiography, I found the character portrayals realistic, particularly Sarah’s thoughts and emotions, which seemed consistent with a woman going through a particularly stressful and heartbreaking experience. It was this character development that held my interest throughout the book. In fact, the story and characters were so realistic, it felt more like an actual autobiography than a fictional one.
Aitken did a wonderful job of conveying the pain and heartache of Sarah’s unsuccessful attempts to fall pregnant. She also included some interesting factual information about the IVF process, including ICSI, which is a specialised form of the treatment where they inject the sperm directly into the egg. Someone who had not been through the experience themselves would learn a lot about the process, especially the emotions involved for a woman who badly wanted to conceive a baby. Men, in particular, could learn plenty from this book about the frustrations and emotional pain their partners endure during unsuccessful attempts to fall pregnant.
I found the “post-IVF” part of this story particularly intriguing, especially seeing Sarah’s personal growth and development as she stepped out of her comfort zone into a different environment. It was gratifying and uplifting to see her empowered by a different system of beliefs, meditation, and by using her new-found confidence and strength to make a difference in the lives of others. The story’s ending was inspirational, seeing the results of this change in Sarah, and the positive outcomes from her actions to better the lives of others.
The author often used commas instead of colons, semicolons, and dashes; for example: “You just didn’t argue with Jane, she had an authority about her...” However, this was the only real negative I picked out of this book, and it would be easily fixed with another edit. With its minor errors fixed, I would definitely rate Sarah’s Story: Life after IVF 4 stars. For now, it gets 3 out of 4 stars. Anyone who enjoys character-driven stories about personal tragedy and growth would definitely find plenty to like about this book. It has some profanity, but only in keeping with the frustrations of the characters.
Sarah’s Story Life after IVF
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon