Reviewed by Christina
[I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]
It's about: In this newest novel from the most famous of Chick Lit authors, Jennifer Weiner weaves together the stories of four women: Jules, a Princeton-educated egg donor; Annie, a working class SAHM surrogate; India, a newly wealthy infertile woman who wants to start a family; and Bettina, India's suspicious step-daughter.
Each of these women (with the exception of Bettina) hope that reproductive technology will change their lives for the better. But, of course, things don't work out according to plan.
I thought: (First, a little sidenote: I requested this book from the publisher because it came up when I was searching for books about surrogacy. I'm a surrogate myself, currently carrying twins for a French couple whom I love. I'm interested in seeing/reading everything I can about the subject and would love recommendations!)
So this is Chick Lit! I have to admit, I thought this was an engaging, decently-written work of fiction. I can see why Jennifer Weiner is so popular. She has a keen ear for dialogue, and her characters' emotions, relationships, and reactions to one another ring very true. Honestly, reading Then Came You was a pretty seamless experience; it was a lot like reading a movie.
Would I call this "literary"? Not in a million years. None of the four first-person narrators has a distinct voice; I couldn't tell a difference between the Vassar and Princeton-educated women and the ones who barely finished high school. There's no imagery, no style, no overarching theme that I noticed. Then Came You has some important issues woven into the story (addiction, the ethics of surrogacy and class differences) but nothing developed enough to constitute a unifying purpose.
BUT one thing I loved, that is almost enough to make me recommend Then Came You to my friends and family: Jennifer Weiner nailed people's various reactions to surrogacy. Some people think it's freakish, or a sin ("playing God"), some people think it's exploitative (including the author) and some people think it's glorified prostitution. All of these points of view were represented in the text, and I appreciated that. Then they're all balanced out by a fair portrayal of motherhood in the warm and fuzzy final chapter.
Reading Recommendations: Good beach or airplane read- Quick and engaging, but nothing too intellectually or emotionally taxing.
Warnings: descriptive sex, a few swears
What I'm reading next: The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Sacks