Ovulation detectors. Hormone surges. Anxiety-ridden dreams. This is the world in which Annie Jacobs is thrust when she and her husband John receive a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. A 37-year old PR executive, Annie has wanted to be a mother since she first cuddled her Baby Tenderlove at age five. She is dreading another Christmas of relatives asking when they will be hearing the pitter patter of little feet, and Uncle Joe slapping John on the back, telling him to relax and take a cruise. Lots of people get pregnant on vacation, you know.
Across town, stay-at-home mom of two, Sarah Anderson, attempts grocery shopping with a toddler intent on hurling items from the cart at passersby. She notices a box of rice heading straight for a gray-haired head. Leaping across the aisle, Sarah grabs it, saving the woman from certain doom, or at least a minor head injury. Little Alex screams at being thwarted. The unknowing octogenarian shakes her head and admonishes Sarah for not knowing how to keep her child quiet in public.
"A Whisper to a Scream" is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry.
"At 35 years old, Sarah Anderson discovered something quite shocking. She had Attention Deficit Disorder - she didn't get any."
Sarah and Annie are experiencing exactly the opposite when it comes to babies. Annie has been focused on her career and is just now getting around to starting a family, while Sarah has two small boys and doesn't have a career going for her. While Annie and Sarah might be at opposite ends of the child bearing spectrum, you can see that the way it affects the family, marriage, etc is very similar. Annie and John found out they have unexplained infertility and are undergoing treatment to up their chances of having a child. The stress that is placed on them as a couple as well as the family is not something I really ever thought about. Not to say that I thought hormone treatments, IVF, blood test after blood test and millions of doctors appointments were easy...but Berner does a great job playing the scenario out so I could get a grasp on the struggles/pains that Annie and John went through. While reading, each time the phone would ring at Annie and John's I would almost hold my breath waiting to see what the results were. Unfortunately Annie became obsessed with wanting a child and it severely impacted her performance at work and her relationship with John. It is so important that couples have open lines of communication and I almost feel as though if John and Annie would just talk more they would have been able to make it through.
Sarah and Tom's relationship is on the fritz because Tom is never home. Sarah is left to do everything at home and is overwhelmed when Tom is never around. Again, I think this goes to show how important communication is -- there wasn't a lot of that in either one of these relationships.
I don't want to spoil anything, so the last thing I will say is -- what happens to Annie???? I can't stand when I'm left to my own devices when it comes to the ending of a book! My mind is spinning and I've come up with several different scenarios, but dang...
Writing Style: 5/5