WordsAPlenty received from the author a copy of The End of Miracles: A Novel by Monica Starkman in exchange for an honest review.
Margo Kerber has a successful career and marriage. However, she has unsuccessfully for years tried to have a child with her husband Steven. To be truly happy, she believes she must have a child. Margo grew up with a mom who was constantly pregnant and with children underfoot. This has been ingrained into her mind – she must have a child to be happy.
No, Margo corrected herself. Fertile times were what other women had. She had only seeding times, times to be sprinkled with sperm. This entailed planning and effort and work, the way preparation of the field was work to the farmer. But for her, it seemed, there was little hope of a harvest.
Then one glorious morning she comes to realize that she may just be pregnant and miracles of miracles, the test proves she is pregnant!!!! Her world is complete until tragedy strikes. Now she must pick up the pieces with Steven and bury their small unborn child that miscarried late in the pregnancy. Her grief turns to denial then to depression. Lost in her world of pain and grief, Margo believes herself pregnant again – the signs are there. A small baby bump, missed periods, fluttering – everything.
When the doctor finally convinces her she is not pregnant, she takes a swan dive into a deeper and more deadly depression landing her in a psychiatric ward at the hospital. Margo is spiraling out of control, stepping far beyond the line of reality and falls deeper in her fantasy; a fantasy that is pushing her to commit an unthinkable and shocking crime.
“Look, when the doctors told me these feelings and thoughts would pass when I got better, I wouldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe. But it’s true. Please try and remember that when it’s really bad.”
Maybe for you, Margo thinks. Maybe it’s true for you. I’ll never feel better, because I don’t deserve to.
Monica Starkman is a distinguished psychiatrist who has professionally researched women’s experiences with infertility, pregnancy, labor and their effects on women. Starkman is a creative wordsmith who draws the reader into this fragile world of Margo’s and vividly reveals intimate feelings of loss and grief. A quick trip into a reality based fantasy that leaves one realizing that there is always a time for compassion and forgiveness. Although it is oftentimes difficult to forgive and move forward, sometimes one cannot forgive others because their own guilt gets in the way.
Starkman takes her readers on a long emotional ride, giving them insight into a devastating condition. A very moving book that had me wishing I could reach out and help Margo and Steven but knowing I could not. Perhaps this was Starkman’s goal, to demonstrate how futile it is for those of us who have never experienced such grief to truly help or understand. Her words are powerful and haunting. This is a must read book!
Well written, the story flows smoothly. Each character is well developed. The plot and characters are realistic. Starkman leaves nothing to chance; she is detailed in building connections between the reader and her characters.
WordsAPlenty awards The End of Miracles: A Novel with a 5 star rating.
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