The Rules of Conception by Angela Lawrence, 2013.
Publisher: Harlequin Mira, Chatswood; 271 pages.
Have you ever wondered how “donor dads” become donor dads? Have you ever considered the intricacies of how to find a donor dad if you want one, and what to say to him when you do?
The Rules of Conception is an entertaining read from new Australian writer Angela Lawrence. It will answer those questions and more that you had never thought to ask, and it will do it in a way that keeps you fascinated. But don’t be fooled, this is not a documentary. This is a work of fiction of surprising depth.
Rachel Richards is ready to be a mother. The only problem is, she doesn’t have a suitable partner for this new part of her life. But she’s not about to let that stop her.
This is a novel that is clearly designed to entertain first and foremost, and it does an excellent job of it. But it also provides a thought provoking look into some life choices that few of us will make.
My master’s project explored a number of infertility narratives, and while this is not exactly one in the traditional sense, it certainly touches on some of the same emotional milestones.
It’s very clear that Lawrence has done her homework into the Australian ‘donor’ scene, and whether or not she’s experienced any level of infertility personally, she gets some of the emotional moments spot on. I found myself saying “Oh yes, I remember that feeling,” more than once.
Some of the laughs are at the expense of a fairly dismissive attitude to natural birth practices. The tendency to mock combined with a truly atrocious midwife character made me wonder if Lawrence has a bit of a barrow to push here.
Nonetheless, the novel kept me engaged right from the beginning and ended at just the right moment, which is easier said than done.
An engaging offering from a new Aussie author. I look forward to reading more of her work.
This review has been included in the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013. You can check out more reviews from the challenge here.