Friday, January 11, 2008

Book Review: Inconceivable-Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility

I've just finished reading Inconceivable: Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility. Inconceivable is a 200 page autobiography of one Christian woman's journey through infertility and failed adoptions.

I'm rather at a loss for words when deciding what to say about this book. My overall impression is that it's pretty benign.

My first critique of the book is the cover. They say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but the cover illustration is so dark and brooding that I initially held off opening the book, thinking it was going to be depressing. The cover is really a minor issue but contributes to my overall ambivalence about this book.

One perplexing thing is that she says in her forward that her book is designed for people who have reached the end of their IF journey. However, I didn't really find anything she said to be audience-specific. Even if we were at the end of our IF journey, I'm not sure that I would have read anything differently and at no point did I feel she was addressing something that I couldn't understand or relate to.

The title of the book gave me hope that the author was going to give some practical, biblical insights in to finding peace. However, the book is so largely introspective and autobiographical that there is little room for actual instruction. This may not have been her intent, but it's certainly what the title communicates to me.

The author is a skilled wordsmith. Her prose is very conversational and easy to read. I read the entire book in the spans of several hours.

But at the end of it, I was left wondering "what's the point?" The book was almost like a blog. It was one woman's personal story with her own experiences, long narratives full of details about doctors, adoptions and church, and recordings of internal dialogues. When reading someone's blog (this one included, I know ;) ), sometimes the author's thinking helps you learn something about yourself or a new way of thinking about things, and sometimes you're invited in for discussion, but generally their (blogs) overall usefulness stops at helping you get to know the author on a personal level. Interesting, but not really helpful for much else beyond the author's life. And that's ok. That's what they're designed for. I guess I expect more from a book I purchased.

There's nothing wrong with the book, I just found myself pretty unaffected by it. As I said, she writes well. Her story is touching and she definitely knows the pain of this journey. Anything she said related to God or scripture was sound so I don't think this book is a negative contribution to the IF world. I just think it's pretty neutral on the usefulness scale.

I did find one particular passage beautiful and I wanted to share it. Toward the end of the book, the author is trying to reassure women that their purpose on earth is not confined to their genetic reproduction and she writes:

The truth is, you were created to sing. God has placed music within yo uthat is unlike the music of anyone else. No one else your particular view of life--your unique blend of character and experience. You were created for a purpose--you were meant to release your music as a gift to the world.

pg 200
I didn't find that particularly revelatory, but I thought it was very poetic.

I know my reviews are usually pretty lengthy and detailed but honestly, I just don't have much to say about this book. The bottom line is that if you're looking to walk through an IF journey with someone who has been there, then this would be a good choice. But if you're looking for any more than that, especially anything heavy on the teaching or personal challenge level, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.