Saturday, December 9, 2017

Book Review: Saving Abby, by Steena Holmes

Guest review by: Erin Krajenke


"Claire, your headaches are a result of a grade-three tumor that is putting pressure on your skull at the base. I wish I could tell you they were due to pregnancy hormones, but I can't." The doctor sat back down but leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desk, and watched Claire intently. 

"What does stage three mean?" she asked. 

"Some cancers disappear after treatments - whether it’s through surgery or radiation or even chemotherapy. Some may grow back. Stage three means that regardless of treatment, chances are strong that it will grow back."

..."I'm going to be honest with you." Dr. Shuman cleared his throat. "If you weren't pregnant, I'd recommend immediate surgery followed by radiation."
...
For a moment, Josh was speechless. "So you're saying she should have an abortion?" Dr. Shuman shook his head. "No, I'm not saying that. If that is what you both decide, then we can discuss what that looks like. But I think the active surveillance is our best option right now". He clasped Josh on the shoulder. "It's a lot to take in. If you need me, call me anytime. We'll get through this, Josh, and both Claire and your baby with be fine." 

The memory of his mother, the way she wasted away, of what her life was like those last few months hit him hard. "But you can't promise. I know. I've lived through it. I know what brain cancer is like. Claire..." his throat thickened, and it was hard to get the words out. "She's my life. She can't die. Do you understand? I don't care what that looks like, but she cannot die." He was over the moon to be a father, to know that their dream of being parents was finally coming true, but he loves his wife more. He prayed he didn't have to make that choice that he could have the best of both worlds. But if he had to, if it meant Claire's life or their baby? There was no choice, not for him.

Initially, I was enjoying this book. The two main characters are sweet and loving, and so is their town and all of their friends and family. But then it just got to be too much. Not that I wanted anything bad to happen to them, just that EVERYTHING was so perfect that it made me want to roll my eyes. Especially when Claire would complain about the simplest, mundane things.

Book Review: Saving Abby, by Steena Holmes
Official synopsis:
All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.

Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?


This book is told in multiple first-person format, which I like since it gives the reader insight on more than one character in the story. It especially helps in the case where you might not care for one character since you get to spend ‘more time’ with multiple characters. It also had chapters that were flashbacks to a trip Josh and Claire took before she got pregnant which I really enjoyed since it discussed their fun travels, traditions, and they were all very fun, happy chapters.

I know I was supposed to care about Claire and empathize with her, but I just couldn’t. The more I read the book, the more spoiled and entitled she seemed to be. She claimed all she wanted in life was to be a mother, but once she was pregnant, she did nothing to take care of herself or her child. She slept all day, had debilitating headaches (causing her to take more medicine than safe), refused vitamins and protein shakes since they didn’t taste good or made her sick, and also refused to see a doctor since she doesn’t like getting poked. It was obvious that there was something wrong, so her not taking action, to me, contradicted her claim that she wanted to be a mother, since she wasn’t willing to even do the bare minimum during her pregnancy. 

There were many other parts of the story as well where I found her behavior to be laborious. That being said, I was rooting for her since her husband, Josh, was such a wonderful character and I wanted him to be happy. 

I am not one who tries to guess what will happen next in a book, but this book seemed very obvious as to which direction it was heading right from the beginning which made the journey a little tedious at some points. Even though I did not like the main character, I did enjoy every secondary character, the town, all of the stories, and the flashbacks that were told throughout to a time before the pregnancy. So in the end, overall, I would say it was an enjoyable read.

3 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}
*This book is currently (Dec. 2017) available for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Erin Krajenke is a chatty Virgo who likes Peter Pan, will never grow-up, and just recently hurt herself on a jungle gym playing tag with her dog.

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