NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi

4.0 out of 5 stars -- If you were really desperate for a baby, what would you do to get one? Is there really hope after a series of miscarriages and barrenness?

That question is at the heart of this contemporary fiction novel that begs for debate and discussion. In this case, a surrogate is hired in India to carry the baby that a US couple, Priya and Madhu want so badly. In the awkwardness of the encounters between the surrogate and the natural parents are the twins angst and doubt. Who is using whom? For Asha and Pratap, the opportunity to grow this baby will provide much needed money to give their brilliant son a chance to attend a good school or for the family to buy a real home. For the donor couple, a bit embarrassed by the whole ordeal of secret surrogacy, the use of a host mother gives them the baby that Priya feels she NEEDS in order to create a family. Is this a moral dilemma? And if you don't have children, are you really a "family?"

Segregated away in India at a special clinic in the House for Happy Mothers, Asha waits anxiously for the delivery of this child. She is in the company of other women who are doing the same thing as she -- and those women display a variety of emotions and rationalizations. Asha feels the baby move inside her and questions her own motives. Will she be able to give this infant up after carrying it for 9 months? Her husband, son, and daughter visit her faithfully but they don't understand the sacrifice involved here. Asha is no longer in control of her own body.

These two couples undergo extreme examination of conscience. As they attempt to explain to others their reasons for choosing this route, both women especially have to look deep inside to analyze their motives to explain their choices. Families are divided, the verdict is in question--was this the right way to do it? Is it OK to use the baby farm? Are there winners and losers?

As always, this author creates characters that could be you or me. She puts us in the position of having to evaluate our own set of beliefs and values. There is no right or wrong here, or is there?

Personally I can't imagine hiring a surrogate, but then again, I was never desperate enough to have a child to have to think about this option. I do know women who would do this in a heartbeat. I don't allow myself to pass sentence. It was quite interesting to see the different points of view of these two women characters and how they handled this situation. Their families were both supportive and judgmental -- but isn't that like real life?? My only complaint about the book was the overly sentimental happy ending for everyone -- but hey, isn't that what we all wish for? At times very sad, but with a touch of humor, Amulya Malladi gets it -- life is really complicated! The inner thoughts of women are complex!

Thank you to the author and to the publishers for this e-book ARC to review. 

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