Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
Atria • $26.99 • on sale July 12, 2011
A Jennifer Weiner novel is my favorite kind of vacation read. It holds my attention in between swimming and socializing; keeps me awake until the wee hours; and provides me with a topic I'll want to discuss at dinner . . . in this case: surrogacy.
I've been a fan of Jennifer Weiner's ever since I discovered an old paperback of Good in Bed in my college library's popular reading section. Weiner writes about women you recognize from real life; her scenes are alternately hilarious and touching; and the pages always fly.
Lizza Bowen reviewed Then Came You in the July issue of BookPage, and her final line is an accurate description: "Weiner has a history of turning out lighthearted and romance-infused reads like Good In Bed and Best Friends Forever. Then Came You is something different for her, offering an eye-opening perspective on parenthood in an age where the family is ever evolving."
The story is about four women who all have a different connection to surrogacy. There's the egg donor, the surrogate, the woman who wants a baby but can't have one on her own, that woman's step-daughter. Weiner has said that her novel was inspired by the controversial New York Times piece, "Her Body, My Baby" by Alex Kuczynski. Though the novel will definitely get you thinking about the politics of reproduction, this story is really about characters—and isn't bogged down by the issue at its heart.
Here's a scene from when the wealthy India Croft meets Annie, her surrogate:
I got to my feet as Leslie trilled the introductions. "Ms. Croft, this is Anne Barrow. Annie, this is India Croft."
She was Ms., and I was Annie. So it begins, I thought. For a moment, the two of us stared at each other. India Croft had the look I expected, a rich-lady look (rich bitch look, I thought, before I could stop myself), like one of the women from those Real Housewives of New York episodes I sometimes watched when Frank was working. I knew better than to tune in when he was home. "Bunch of silly people who think they've got problems," he'd grumble, and I couldn't deny it, or explain to him that sometimes the problems were kind of interesting, and it was at least fun to look at their clothes and their houses, and feel good that your kids weren't half as bratty as theirs.
India Croft was white, like I'd expected, with smooth, unlined skin. Her heart-shaped face narrowed to a neat little chin. Her lips were full and glossed, her nose was small, adorably tilted, her brows were perfectly shaped, and, beneath them, her eyes were wide, almost startled . . .
Standing there, my mouth full of Mint Milano mush, sweating in my long-sleeved dress, I felt big as a battleship and just as ungainly. I swallowed, ran my tongue over my teeth, and stepped forward, saying the words I'd rehearsed in the car: "It's a pleasure to meet you."
Will you read Then Came You? What are you reading today?