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On the Kindle

At the beginning of each year I try and select a couple of hot books from the year before as selected at the end of the year by Amazon Editors. I do this to keep in touch with what others are reading. It also exposes me to issues that I would not naturally read about. There is nothing better than picking up a book and discovering it is a gem!
   
I have just finished reading  one of the top Amazon Singles from 2014. I never knew what an Amazon Single was until I picked up the book Perseverance by Kristin Peck . It is a very short memoir / personal essay by Kristin Peck which chronicles her emotionally charged struggles with infertility and persevered through to a happier ending. 

Two quotes from the book struck me, and perhaps highlights the double edge of the book. The first quote expresses a common human struggle :
We did our best to try to focus on anything other than our fertility problems as we took the twelve- hour flight to Maui. But your problems manage to travel with you, even when they are not invited. Their tickets are free. We went sightseeing, sat at the beach, and played hours of tennis each day, but the feeling of something hanging over us was impossible to avoid. It was with us on the beach, on the tennis court, and in our bed.
What Peck is talking about is the ancient inescapability of suffering. When you are going through suffering it rearranges your world in such a way that nothing else seems to matter. That problem becomes the new reality. It is this aspect of suffering that makes suffering always a lonely enterprise. It is just you and that form of pain. But its more than loneliness, as Peck flags up is enslavement that accompanies it. For that period of suffering we become prisoners of the situation. Totally helpless.

As an insight into the human condition that quote is very helpful. Indeed, the book as a whole is opens a window for us to gaze at how people seek to fulfil their needs in their lives, particularly the lengths they are willing to go. However, any would be reader of this short memoir must keep in mind the second quote very early on in the book:
I write this story down both so that I do not forget its lessons, laughter, and tears, but also because I hope that others who are suffering through similar circumstances will realize they are not alone and that there is no single right way to form a family— only the right way for them
As I read through the book I was expecting that some debate would emerge on the difficult moral questions surrounding the potential solutions, particularly in relations to surrogacy, but nothing happened. Indeed, there was no deep introspection on whether her constant pursuit of motherhood suggests perhaps an unhealthy obsession that may not bode well for the future. In short, one woman's perseverance may be another woman's unhealthy obsession. How do we know which is which?

 Unfortunately  we never get an answer to that question.. Instead what we get is blanket support for moral relativism encapsulated in the statement "there is no single right way to form a family— only the right way for them". That is actually very odd thing for Peck to say because later on she rejects adopting another woman's baby because the mother of the baby is a drug addict. Evidently, Peck does not think that is the right way to raise a family. Always moral relativists are never consistently relativistic, how else would they cross a road?

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