Friday, June 13, 2014

Family Size by Maria Hoagland

Family Size by Maria Hoagland
"Jessica loves being the mom of an ever-expanding family, but when an ultrasound throws her a curve, can she adapt with grace?

Dragged away from home, Maya feels deserted by her workaholic husband in a land of confusing accents and church cliques. What will it take to acclimate and save her marriage—or does she even want to?

Sloane is an algebra teacher and runner who would give up both to be a mom, but no matter what she does, pregnancy remains elusive. Can she adjust her thinking and find purpose in her life?


As their lives intertwine, can friendship and faith help these women hurdle expectations of an ideal family size?" (summary from author's website)

Family size tells the story of three women going through trials. Sloane is the math teacher that just can’t get pregnant, Jessie the worn out mother, who has a pregnancy with dangerous complications, and Maya, who deals with chronic pain while her husband is often away on speaking engagements for his new book. I  thought the author did a really good job of dealing with a lot of sensitive issues very realistically and honestly. From prescription drug dependence to infertility and adoption she leads her characters through their trials with sincerity and realism that makes the reader relate to and understand their choices.
That being said I think the author relied too much on offensive comments to fuel the tension for her scenes. The trope began to feel old hat about halfway through the novel to the point that it started to feel unrealistic. Another thing is that I thought the author could have improved many scenes by giving the reader critical details to set things up. For example we are never told that Jessica’s husband is an OBGYN and we have to just infer that from the context. He is also part of the bishopric, I think, but that never really factors into Jessica’s point of view as a reason for why she is so overwhelmed all the time. That is kind of a significant impact on Jessica’s family and I thought that should have been treated as thoughtfully as the rest of the challenges in the novel. 

Despite these weaknesses I still felt like the book was a worthwhile read and would be willing to read more books written by the author.
Find out more about Maria Hoagland at her website.

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