Wednesday, 15 February 2017

336 Hours by Rachel Cathan 
Release Date:13th February 2017
Publisher: Silverwood Books
Genres:  Based on the author’s true life experiences, 336 Hours is a humorous and poignant diary about one woman’s quest to be a mother.’

The next 336 hours will be tough. No, the next 336 hours will be really tough…

I feel like an Olympian, waiting to see whether the years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication are finally going to pay off, or whether my body is about to fail me at the last hurdle and make me wonder why I ever hoped I could win.

My best friend is pregnant, my single friends are planning their pregnancies and, after five long years of tests and investigations, I’m coming to the end of my third – and supposedly final – IVF treatment. 

There are 336 hours to survive before I’ll know if I get to join the motherhood club. That’s 224 waking hours of pure psychological torture. 112 sleeping hours to stare at the ceiling and wonder, what the hell am I going to do with my life if it turns out I can’t have kids?
Based on the author’s true life experiences, 336 Hours is a humorous and poignant diary about one woman’s quest to be a mother.

Extract 1:
They should have IVF farms for women like me to book into at times like these; pretty padded cells with flat-screen TVs and row upon row of feel-good DVDs and relaxation CDs, and beautiful gardens and luxury bathrooms with hot taps that would never heat up to embryo boiling temperatures, and gigantic rocking chairs so that we could legitimately sit and rock ourselves backwards and forwards for hours on end without looking completely crazy in the process.
Extract 2:
I can’t pretend to have a clue what she means, of course. I don’t know what it’s like to have little people shouting, ‘Mummy! Mummy! MUUMMEEE!’ all day long, to never be able to go for a wee on your own, to make spaghetti bolognese and then watch your dinner dates tip it straight over their heads, to stay up all night comforting a teething toddler, to spend hours coercing and pleading with very small people to put shoes and coats on so you can at last leave the fucking house.
But I want to know this life. Because that stuff gives you stories, first-hand experiences, and the right to exchange knowing smiles of solidarity with other frazzled parents as you all manoeuvre your wayward shopping trolleys around the aisles of Tesco.
And it comes with other stuff, too: the good stuff.

Books that are written straight from the heart are the books that seem to affect readers the most. And, 336 Hours was one such book. Written in diary form from the author's own experiences it was clear from the very beginning of the book that the story was going to touch me, make me cry and make me feel those feelings of frustration too. Tackling a difficult subject matter - infertility - the book describes so wonderfully the feelings of desperation, need and want that any person who desperately wants a child feels. I was so glad to read a story that also tackled how infertility affected men too. Sometimes forgotten about when their partner can't conceive, men are often left to just get on with things and many people assume don't feel that same desperation and longing for a child that a woman feels.  This book handles this so well.

Yes there are some humourous moments and some tongue in cheek bits but overall this is a book that follows one couples long and ardous journey through the minefield that is IVF treatment. And the waiting! Oh my god the waiting..........the countdown until the day you can take the pregnancy test. Having had some personal experience of the all consuming desire to have a child, I could relate to those feelings of helplessness when your body just won't do what its supposed to do. I did not want this book to end. I was emotionally wrung out by the end of it all, afraid to find out what happens at the end. A great read and definitely a bit of a tear jerker and emotional roller-coaster! Its a brave book, baring the facts about infertility in a no holds barred description of feelings and what infertility can do to a marriage. Loved it!

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RACHEL CATHAN is a writer from Bedfordshire. In 2001, a mutual friend introduced her to a part-time pub DJ in Southend-on-Sea. A month later, they had moved in together, around seven years later they tied the knot, and a little while after that – just like so many couples before them – they made the exciting and terrifying decision to start a family. And then, like a growing number of couples today, well...not a lot happened.
Throughout the subsequent years of fertility investigations and failed treatments, Rachel kept a diary of her experiences, and it’s from these first- hand encounters in the world of infertility and IVF that her first book, 336 Hours has been adapted.


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