I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Even though it is fiction it gives real to life consequences of what happens when we, as humans, choose to mess with God's design. Laura Ann is between a rock and a hard place. Her father is dying of cancer and needs some very expensive medication. The farm which has been in their family for years is in a financial bind due to her father's illness. To generate the income she doesn't have, she sells her eggs to a reproduction clinic. Although, she was brought up in church and taught to trust that God would always provide, she gets caught up in the advertisements for the quick cash she needs. Needless to say it wasn't all it was cut out to be. As the story plot gets deeper, a woman shows up carrying Laura's biological child. In a sad turn of events, Laura has to make some tough choices, and someone else wants her child badly enough to take some very drastic measures. I don't want to give away the whole book, but it is certainly worth the read. The challenges of faith verses bioethics is very interesting topic, considering the ideas present in today's society. This book really gets a person to thinking about these things and how they affect God's design for our lives. Is this part of His plan or are we taking matters into our own hands?? I received this book free from Zondervan Publishers for the purpose of my honest review. And I can definitely say, I was very impressed with it. The author, Austin Boyd, serves his community through Crisis Pregnancy ministries. You can check out his website HERE. I am looking forward to reading the next release from the Pandora Files.
Once I began reading the book I could not put it down. Classed as Women’s Fiction, and it is, it also reads like the Suspense stories I love to read most. So put the suspense with the relationship issues of Women’s fiction and Austin Boyd has a real winner here.
Faced with her father’s mounting medical bills, a heavy debt load on their struggling farm, and a list of familial woes, Laura Ann McGehee makes a decision that she feels will save the family farm, despite its questionable morality. Desperate to bear the child she and her husband never had, single mother Sophia McQuistion arranges a pregnancy that is beyond her physical capabilities. Together these two women have mothered a child, but whose is he truly?
Modern reproductive technology has brought with it a host of ethical and moral concerns that even the church has been hard pressed to deal with. The rapid spread of such technologies has brought to surface many challenging questions that even Christians rarely ask themselves before plunging head-first into the quest for a child – no matter the cost (both moral and financial).
In Zondervan’s new series The Pandora Files, author Austin Boyd seeks to explore some of the issues raised by new life-related technologies. In the first novel Nobody’s Child, Boyd explores the issues of egg donation, artificial insemination, and of carrying a child to term made up of the life-giving genetic contributions of two separate people – neither one the mother carrying the child. It may seem bizarre but it is an all too real fact of modern life in our culture.
This is a richly textured story filled to bursting with the details of life in rural Appalachia. It gets off to a slow start, but slowly and surely draws readers into the weft and warp of its fabric. The story can be a bit more wordy than needed at times (too many similes and metaphors) – it almost seems to be striving to be literary fiction, but doesn’t quite make it.
Around halfway through the story I did become personally engaged with the characters and was brought to tears at times. This is very much a story of the women, the choices they make, and how it affects their lives. There are also some interesting details about the medical procedures used and potential legal ramifications that are not commonly known. This is a series that has been needed for some time in my opinion.
The quality of the writing was the weak point for me. The book was loaded with cumbersome metaphors. I was determined to wade through them however, because I was interested in the topic. At perhaps about mid way, I was involved enough in the story to be less distracted by the writing. The story was predictable, largely due to there being too much given away in the description on the cover. That being said, I liked the story anyway and look forward to reading the next book in the series - hoping for better writing.
Nobody's Child is a bioethics suspense novel, written by Austin Boyd and published by Zondervan. Zondervan sent this to me at no charge to review. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw bioethics novel was that it was probably going to be a little bit boring..scientific..and over my head. However, this book was very interesting, kept my attention, and approached the bioethics dilemma from many different angles. Laura Ann is about to lose the farm. Her father is dying and the money it takes for his care has put them close to losing everything. Her body is the last thing she has. Should she use it as a tool to save the farm? Sophia wants to raise a child and feels she only has one option. With the unusual sacrifice of strangers she has never met, she now carries the child she could only dream about once before. Ian is in love with Laura Ann and has been for a very long time. But could the secrets and past decisions that Laura Ann made going to stop him from loving her completely? With a supporting cast of characters -- Uncle Jack trying to steal the farm and Aunt Rose standing by watching; Granny Apple the support and grandmotherly figure in Laura Ann's life; Stefany, a distant cousin with intuitive investigative skills; and a town full of gossips; this story is not only entertaining, but also will keep you thinking. Boyd does a great job in showing how one decision, permissible by science, leads to consequences for every one. And in the same way, there is no judgement in the book. Boyd does not condemn anyone for decisions made, but presents all points and in the end, leaves the decision up to you.
Laura Ann McGeHee father is dieing and the farm that has passed down from generations is about to be lost because of medical bills, so Laura Ann decides to take things into her own hands, and not thinking about the future consequences she does what she can with the only financial resource she has available, herself. In a string of events Laura Ann, a virgin mother, is now the guardian of her own biological son. However; somebody else wants to take him away and Laura Ann is prepared to fight for her child. Austin Boyd has created a story that bring todays bio-ethics head-to-head with faith and how the choices that are made and the things that we do all have consequences. This story took a little getting into, but once I got into the story I did not want to put the book down but wanted to know the outcome. Overall this is a good story, the summary on the back of the book is misleading and the story, with all the problems the characters are facing gets resolved relatively easily. The writing is descriptive and brings you into the world but some of the characters lack enough backstory and depth to really understand them. This book does cause you to think about how to deal with and figure out what happens when new technology and faith collide.
This book was provided complimentary from Zondervan in exchange for and honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are all my own.
GENRE: INSPIRATIONAL PUBLISHER: ZONDERVAN PUBLICATION DATE: AUGUST 1, 2011 RATING: 6 OUT OF 10
Faced with numerous mortgage payments and medical bills, Laura Ann has to decide whether to risk losing the family farm or sell the one commodity in her means – her eggs. Sharing her secret with no one for fear of shame, Laura Ann makes several trips to harvest her eggs so that she can keep her daddy’s farm within their immediate family and stop it from falling into the hands of her manipulative and abusive uncle. But when a woman turns up on her doorstep claiming that she’s carrying Laura Anna’s child, Laura Ann is forced to face the full implications of her actions. How long can she keep her secret?
Just to set the scene here, I’m not your typical American reader. To begin with, I’m actually British, and what drew me to this book was the concept of harvesting eggs in exchange for money. In Britain there is absolutely no financial benefit to donating eggs, sperm or even blood; “donors” truly are making donations. So I started this book with a degree of ignorance towards this world in which reproductive organs can be used to produce money. This may mean that I was more shocked and surprised by the situations novel than your typical American reader, who will be more aware of these events than I am. But I’m sure that even those who are familiar with this system will be struck by this book and made to consider the consequences of the decisions that young women such as Laura Ann find themselves making.
Initially the story was very slow moving, and I actually put it down and read something else for a few days as a lot of the early chapters were spent developing Laura Ann’s character and introducing the members of her family. Personally, I felt that the plot didn’t really start until a good third of the way into the book. A lot was alluded to about Laura Ann’s financial problems and how she’d managed to pay for the mortgage and her dad’s healthcare bills. Yet despite all of the build up to the main plot and introduction of the main characters, I still felt like I didn’t really know the characters when the plot did get rolling. Laura Ann was fairly well developed, and her boyfriend, Ian, was a believable enough character, if lacking some substance. But I had this niggling feeling in the back of my mind as I read the book, as if I should be connecting with all the characters on a deeper level and had missed something essential. In a way it was almost as if I’d dropped into the middle of the series and had missed getting to know Laura Ann’s family members and neighbours. Even Laura Ann felt a bit distant, and I’m hesitant to suggest that this is because the author is male and she just didn’t come across as a hundred-percent realistic to the female reader.
Fortunately, the story really picked up around the halfway mark and I started to take an interest in the characters. The pacing in this book is rather bizarre, with the incredibly slow start, then a jump as the plot gets started, followed by a giant leap in the last eighth of the book in which everything seems to suddenly speed up and there’s a rush to the climax. The book definitely got a lot more interesting once Sophia arrived with the news that she was carrying Laura Ann’s child. Sophia was a fascinating character, maybe one of the most realistic out of all the characters in the book. There was still a slight feeling of detachment, which may be because the author didn’t want readers to get so attached to someone who wouldn’t be around for the whole book. To readers who have actually read the synopsis of this book, which will hopefully be most, the outcome of Sophia’s visit is quite easy to predict and hangs ominously in the background. But even this didn’t prevent the conclusion from being heartbreaking, particularly as Sophia was the character I’d become most attached to.
I’m impressed with the way that the author introduced the topic of harvesting eggs in exchange for money without verging on being “preachy” or pushing his own personal views on the readers. The court case at the end of the book enabled various opinions on this topic to be tossed around, allowing the reader to make their own decision on this ethical dilemma. Such sensitive issues can be tricky to discuss, even in the Christian community, and I do commend Austin for writing a novel which presented all of the facts without overtly presenting the “right” and “wrong” stances on this issue. That said, there was one moment at the end of the court case where the judge made a sweeping comment about whether or not children are viewed as a blessing or simply a commodity. While this statement was entirely valid and one that I myself have mused on in the past, the way in which this question was presented to the reader felt a little forced, as if the author wished to sum up the debate that had been going on throughout the book.
While Nobody’s Child isn’t one of the most gripping novels I’ve read this year, it enlightened me to many of the facts about the darker side to fertility treatment and the women who find themselves offering their reproductive organs in return for cash. IVF has long been a tricky issue in the Christian community, but Austin Boyd refrains from choosing one side in this debate, instead presenting readers with a realistic situation through the character of Laura Ann. I would recommend this to fiction readers who want to know more about the ethical implications behind IVF and harvesting eggs, but aren’t quite ready to go wading through journals and textbooks to uncover the details.
It’s not often that a book concerning ‘faith and bioethics’ comes into being. It’s mostly for this reason that this book immediately snagged my interest, and will certainly snag the interest of many people. Who wants to talk about ‘the tough stuff’ nowadays anyway? Apparently Austin Boyd isn’t running scared and isn’t afraid to mince words and he did this one particular subject the greatest justice.
From the first page on, you're introduced to a whole lot of grit and seriousness, and it hardly lets up till the last. It's a tough book, one of the toughest I've read this year. Austin Boyd doesn't tackle a fluffy issue and he delivers it with almost unmatchable skill in such a way that has the reader thinking that he must’ve experienced every detail himself, though for some parts that’s most impossible. Simply put, the reader is part of the story, not on the outside looking in.
Admittedly, sometimes the situations introduced are a bit overwhelming. It's just one bad thing after another happening; the outcome is a long time coming and the author clearly sought to include every possible scenario that could stand between Laura Ann's current situation and what might possibly be a happy ending. Really, I do believe that Austin Boyd painted 'worst case scenarios'. Were the situations grossly exaggerated in comparison to what usually happens? Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever the case may be, I'm grateful that this particular author took the initiative to write a novel concerning 'egg donors' and the long-lasting, irreversible consequences that are both inevitable and most serious.
The novel teaches, enlightens, entertains, and addresses the ethical question we can no longer ignore in medicine: Just because we can do something … should we?
If the other up-coming books from The Pandora Files series match this one, they all will certainly be a worthwhile contribution to the world of literature.