Irish journalist Moriarty’s first fiction depicts a young woman feverishly trying to get pregnant.
After a year of marriage, make-up artist Emma and rugby coach James decide to have a baby. Emma starts to schedule their sex when she is ovulating. She alters their diet and tells James to stop masturbating because it uses up sperm. As months pass, Emma’s level of desperation rises quickly, as if the author felt she had to condense her trauma to keep it within the novel’s time frame. Moriarty writes witty, lively dialogue, and her heroine is self-aware and often very funny about her self-absorption, but women who have struggled with infertility over much longer periods may find Emma’s impatience so early on a tad annoying. She briefly tries yoga, but it doesn’t calm her down. After a year, she goes to a fertility clinic, where she learns that there’s no physical reason she can’t conceive. She begins to take a fertility drug. Regular acupuncture sessions help her relax, but apparently not enough. When a policeman stops her for driving recklessly after visiting a friend who has just had her second baby, Emma pours out her woe. Coincidentally—and heavy-handedly—the policeman and his wife had the same problem and have just adopted a child from Romania. For their anniversary, Emma drags Protestant James to Lourdes, although she is supposedly a lapsed Catholic. She tries in vitro fertilization once, but it doesn’t take. After two obsessive years, Emma decides she’s through and wants to adopt. Ever-patient James balks halfheartedly before agreeing, and the story abruptly ends. Can a sequel on the ups and downs of the adoption process be far behind? Despite clever jokes and banter, this is all pretty much a yawn.
More a fact-filled report on conception and infertility than real novel.