Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book review: Someone Else's Child

Time for a book review. I borrowed this book from the local library a few weeks ago.

It's written by a lady called Sue Phillips, who acted as a surrogate for the brother and sister-in-law of a friend.

It gave an interesting insight into why someone would choose to be a surrogate and what's involved in the process, which was certainly my interest in reading it. My understanding of surrogacy, admittedly quite limited, was based on the US model, where women are paid to act as surrogates. In Australia, surrogacy can be done on an altruistic basis only, and not in all Australian states.

The Penguin website describes this book as a "powerful memoir." I'm not sure I'd go that far, there were times when her writing style seemed a little superficial. For example, her description of making the decision that becoming a surrogate was the right one was based on a sermon she heard at church about Jonah in the belly of the fish. She commented that even though the story "wasn't real" (that topic would take a whole new post to deal with so I won't go there, but I'm guessing she's in a more liberal church than mine) she became convinced it was the right thing to do. She seems to have some Christian background, as she writes about attending church and while pregnant she changed employers from the Catholic church, who predictably weren't that excited about her decision to be a surrogate, to work for her own church as a playgroup co-ordinator. But I would have liked to hear a little more on her ethical reasoning and how her decision was influenced by, and impacted upon, her Christian life and faith. Sometimes the story appeared to get bogged down in unnecessary details.

Still, I think it's worth a read for anyone who enjoys reading autobiographical books. I did find it hard to put down once I'd started reading, and Sue's story of the process enlightened my understanding of surrogacy in the Australian context.

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