The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward: A Review
The Nearness of You is a novel that asks the question, "What makes one a mother?" Suzette's marriage to Hyland is turned upside down when he springs it on her that he wants to have a child after they agreed for years that they would not have them. Suzette is still healing from the memories of her mother's mental illness and does not want to pass the genes along to a child. Suzette agrees to allow Hyland to have a child with a surrogate, Dorrie. Once Dorrie becomes pregnant with Hyland and Suzette's child, she disappears. While Suzette was not completely on board with the idea in the first place, she searches desperately for the child.
When I read the synopsis for this book, I believed that it had great potential. Surrogacy, as a topic for a novel, is very current issue. The book read very quickly; maybe too quickly. The story felt rushed and did not leave enough time for the characters to develop and for any kind of suspense to build. This would have been one story that would have benefited from a slower, more emotionally descriptive story. There are some surprises at the end of the story but they are not as emotional as I have come to expect from a novel in the women’s literature genre.
One thing I really liked about this book was the voice that the characters had. Ward is very skilled in giving each character his or her own unique voice. You can hear Dorrie’s southern accent and youth while you are reading the words. Even though the characters of Jayne and Suzette are not told from the first person, you can still feel their different personalities come through on the page.
This book was great at making one think about motherhood and what it means. Is a mother the one who conceived and gave birth to a child or does a child belong to the mother that has put in the time and energy? It also makes one think about how family heredity is not always a determining factor in how a child will turn out and neither is a home filled with all of the “right” things. As Eloise said, her mother spent time reading parenting books that she could have spent with her. Sometimes, it is just better to be there than it is to do all of the right things. Another really great book about motherhood and the complexity of mother-parent relationships is Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran.
Though this is not a book I would read again, I did enjoy reading some of it. I would recommend it for fans that enjoy women's lit but who want a very quick read, one where the narrative and characters don't have to be as developed.
This book will be available on February 21, 2017 and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to review it but that did not have an effect on my review of the book. This is my honest opinion of this book. I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliates program. By clicking on the Amazon link and purchasing this product, I receive a small fee. I am not associated with Goodreads or Barnes and Noble in any way and the links provided are available strictly for your convenience and not to imply a relationship of any kind.