Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Goodnight, Beautiful

A little warning before I go on, this is going to be a pretty long entry and it's going to be full of text but I do hope that you will finish reading it because it's about a wonderful book.
Just finished the new book of one of my favourite author Dorothy Koomson last week. Title of the book: "goodnight, beautiful".
Here's what the blurb says:
everybody has secrets . . . will this one break somebody's heart?
Eight years ago, Nova Kumalisi agreed to have a baby for Mal and Stephanie Wacken. Halfway through the pregnancy, the couple changed their minds and walked away, leaving Nova pregnant, scared and alone.
Eight years ago, Stephanie was overjoyed at the thought of becoming a mother - until she found a text from Mal to Nova saying, 'Goodnight, beautiful'. Terrified of losing her husband to his closest friend, Stephanie asked him to cut all ties to Nova and their unborn child.
Now, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Although they live separate lives, both women have secrets that will bind them together for ever . . .
Incredibly moving and powerfully written, Goodnight, Beautiful is a tale of love, friendship and new beginnings.
Now, let me just give a brief summary of this book.
Nova and Mal have been the best of friends since babies. They have always been there for each; throughout their childhood and teenage years. Nova loves Mal and have even tried to express her love for Mal but before she could do so, something Mal said made realized that they could never be together and so she banished the thought from her mind and decided to let things stay the way it was.
As Nova reached adulthood, she found a boyfriend and not long after Mal had a girlfriend - Steph. Even though Mal was with Steph, Nova's name never fails to come up whenever Mal and Steph were together and it doesn't come as a surprise when Steph starts to get jealous of Nova.
Shortly after, Mal and Steph decided to bring their relationship another step closer and that was when Steph revealed that she was unable to have any children in future due to complications from an abortion which she had undergone when she was fifteen; Mal accepted it and not long after they got married.
However, one day, Steph decided that she wanted kids of her own but as she couldn't have her own children, both Mal and her decided to explore their options. Adoption was an option but Steph had her own ideas instead. She proposed to Mal the idea of getting Nova to be their surrogate mother instead. Meaning, getting Nova to have their baby. Steph knew that Nova would agreed to it because of her love for Mal. True enough, Nova agreed to do so.
As Nova's tummy grew bigger, Steph grew more and more insecure. She was worried that Mal would start to love Nova and leave her for his baby and Nova. To prevent this from happening, she decided that she did not want the baby anymore and force Mal to make a choice between his baby and her. She knew very well that Mal would chose her and she was right, Mal chose her. And Mal was to cut off all contacts from Nova.
Nova was devastated when she learned about it. She begged Mal to reconsider everything but Mal chose to ignore her. In the end, she decided to keep the baby and named him Leo. The story actually starts with Leo (7 years and 5 months) in a coma and goes back to how everything happened.
As I read on, I started to think about this question: Will I ever be as brave as Nova to be a surrogate mother? I doubt I ever will. How can you ever detach from someone who was inside your womb for 10 months? It takes a lot courage to be able to do that and no matter how brave I am, I don't think I will have the courage to do so. Towards the later chapters, there were a few times when I started tearing while reading the book. My heart really went out to Nova and little Leo.
So did Leo wake up from his coma in the end? Did Nova and Mal got together in the end? If you want to know the ending, I'd suggest reading the book. It's really worth your time.
And here's what the author herself has to say about this book:
Goodnight, Beautiful is my fifth novel to be published and it's different again from the other books. One of the main themes of the book is surrogacy.
Before I left Australia, and I was writing Marshmallows For Breakfast, the subject of people having children for other people came up with surprising frequency. I met women who had donated eggs to friends and others who knew people who were either donating eggs or having babies for family members or friends. It seemed a lot of people were doing this amazing thing outside of registered agencies and outside of the stories we hear in the press.
Although circumstances for every instance of egg donation or surrogacy were different, one element was always the same: relationships between the donor and intended parents were irrevocably altered - sometimes for the better, sometimes detrimentally. I decided that this was a subject I wanted to explore because it was another dynamic of human relationships that I hadn't thought to investigate. I wanted, also, to write about the subject of surrogacy from the angle of the strain it must put on the intended parents' relationship, and the little-talked-about subject of what a surrogate would do if they are left holding the baby.
It was an enlightening experience looking into the minds and hearts of those involved in surrogacy, and I spent a lot of time trying to work out whether I would be able to do it for someone I love - I'm still unsure what the answer is.
The novel also touches on the subjects of the secrets we keep even from those we love and mental illness. Hopefully, it will be as thought-provoking a read for you, as it was for me to write.
If you want to know more about Dorothy Koomson and her previous books, you can check it out at http://www.dorothykoomson.co.uk/index.phtml

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