About This Blog

This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

Popular Posts

Book Review: What Came First

Posted by gck Monday, December 12, 2011


What Came First by Carol Snow

Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Recommended for: Chick-lit readers, people who like babies
Received ARC copy through a GoodReads giveaway.

Back-cover summary:
First comes love, then comes marriage, then . . . things can get a little complicated.

Vanessa wants just one thing for her twenty-ninth birthday: an engagement ring from her longtime boyfriend, Eric. But when the ring turns out to be a mix CD and Eric turns out to be a guy who doesn't want to get married or have children, Vanessa considers a new path to having a family.

When Wendy and her husband, Darren, couldn't have children the old- fashioned way, a sperm donor seemed like the perfect solution. She never imagined she'd have out-of-control twins who'd drive her to cookie binges and scrapbooking while Darren escaped into the virtual world of computer games.

Single and career-driven, Laura didn't need a man to have a baby - at least not one that she ever met. Thanks to an anonymous donor, she shares her life with her adored eight-year-old son, Ian. She'll do anything for Ian - even fill their backyard with a bunch of noisy chickens. But the one thing Ian really wants is something Laura's never been able to give him: a sibling.

Now, to grant Ian's wish, Laura starts a search that will not only change her life but Vanessa's and Wendy's as well...

My review:
What Came First tells the story about three very different women whose lives become connected. The one thing that all three of them share is the desire to have children, and the inability to have them the "traditional way." The author develops three characters with different, believable personalities and situations.

Laura is a career-driven, independent woman who decides she doesn't need a husband and has a son via sperm donor. Wendy and her husband are unable to conceive, so she uses a donor and gives birth to a set of rambunctious twins, but her husband feels like they aren't his children. Vanessa wants the traditional husband and children, but her boyfriend isn't interested in that life.

The book is an easy, engaging read. It's chick lit and doesn't present any earth shattering perspectives about relationships or parenting, but I did appreciate the fact that the situations of the characters were relatable and not cookie-cutter. The writing is contemporary, with many references to things like World of Warcraft and Twilight, which makes it seem like it's meant to be read now but not necessarily ten years down the line.

When reading books like this, it helps a lot if the problems that the central characters are struggling with are things that the reader cares about. Unfortunately, in this case, I don't care that much about having babies, and I'm already surrounded by people who care a lot about having babies. So a bit of a subject miss for me. However, I am interested to read some of Carol Snow's other books because she knows how to tell a good story.


Discussion Questions:
(There were no discussion questions in the version of the book I received, but there should be some in there when the final version is published. They may or may not overlap with mine.)

1. What do you think about the parenting styles and abilities of the three women? What characteristics and behaviors of the children do you think were inherited, and what was due to how they were raised? Do you think genetics or environment plays a greater role in how a child turns out?

2. Natural selection occurs when individuals with more desirable genetic traits reproduce more successfully. By using technology to reproduce when it is naturally impossible or unlikely, Laura and Wendy defy this process. Do you think they should have become parents? Do alternate ways of conception have adverse effects on society?

3. Was Laura justified in what she did to find her son’s biological father? What about all of her requests afterwards? If not, at what point did she cross the line?

4. How do Eric’s attitudes towards children change through the book? What do you think of his relationships with Laura and Ian? What do you think will happen after the end of the book?

5. What are your feelings about sperm donation? A man who fathered a child would be expected to mention this to a significant other. Should he also be expected to mention if he donated sperm? Why or why not?

6. Throughout the whole book, Vanessa seems to be the character who gets the least of what she wants. Do you feel sorry for her? Does she deserve more?


Post a Comment