**3.5-stars rounded up**
No Child of Mine follows Essie Kaur, an ambitious young woman who has recently found out that she is pregnant for the first time.
Essie is in a very loving marriage with her husband, Sanjay, whom she adores, but in spite of that, Essie is less than stoked about the news.
In fact, privately, she’s pretty upset about it. Essie is currently in law school, almost through, ready to take the bar exam early the following year, how is she going to make that work now? The baby will be three months old when she is supposed to sit for the bar?
Essie keeps a lot of her feelings to herself; well, most of them honestly. She’s afraid people will judge her for not having the ecstatic, happy reaction society teaches us we are supposed to always have.
She wants to be happy. She loves the little being growing inside her, she really does, but that love is being shadowed by a lot of other darker emotions right now.
As the Reader, we sit inside Essie’s head as she struggles with these emotions, her changing body, her changing relationship and her ever changing reality.
While some of it borders on repetitive, I feel like as a person who frequently suffers from repetitive thoughts, it still made sense to me. I could imagine being Essie and having these same exact thoughts over and over.
In addition to Essie’s perspective, we also get a historical perspective following two women, Isabelle and Anna.
It’s unclear initially how these women are connected to Essie and her story, but as their narrative evolves it becomes clear where it is going. This aspect adds the impetus behind some of the darker elements in the present perspective.
Particularly, what’s going on with Sanjay.
As a soon to be 45-year old woman, who made a conscious decision at a very young age to never have children, these types of stories revolving around pregnancy and early motherhood either drive me crazy, or I end up connecting to them in a powerful way.
Regardless of the final outcome, I do enjoy picking up stories that involve these themes, because I like to see what sort of new elements, or perspectives, various authors will bring.
I think Giraldes did a great job of writing Essie’s perspective.
To me, Essie’s concerns and emotional struggle was 100% believable. She was a woman who had a plan for her future, who had sacrificed to reach her goals, and so close to the finish line had everything up-ended while her husband still got to live his dream.
I was nodding along in many parts, even yelling words of support for her. The only issue I had with this story really, and it’s a minor one, was the connection between the historic perspective and Essie’s present perspective.
For me, there were times, when it felt a little too disjointed. By this I mean, the transition between the two sometimes seemed jarring; like it wasn’t as fluid as I would hope.
Essie’s sections felt so straight forward, but for Isabelle and Anna, my brain was working overtime trying to figure out why it was even included. Because of this, for at least the first half, every time it switched perspectives, it kicked me out of the story.
At times, I felt a bit like I was reading two separate books.
With this being said, there is a certain reveal that happens, where after that, it started making sense. Plus, additional things were happening in the current perspective, where you could feel that distinct influence from the past.
Giraldes brought it around. It was eventually cleared up and tied together by the end. Although, one final nit-pick is the ending was too abrupt for my tastes.
Overall though, this is a very solid story. I think it provides a lot of food for thought, as far as a women’s role in the modern world, as well as interesting commentary on women’s issues spanning generations.
Thank you to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press and Dreamscape Media, for providing me copies to read and review. I found this quite absorbing and am looking forward to picking up more from this author.
Also, I would definitely recommend the audio format. The narrator did an incredible job bringing it to life and making it compelling. I feel like it’s a great way to take in this story.