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A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles:…
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A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One)

by Karen Wojcik Berner

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This review was originally posted on Melissa's Midnight Musings
on October 8, 2012.


This book speaks to all women. Those who have children and those who don't. And for those of us who are thinking about it in the future, it gives you a very detailed picture of what having children can be like, and what a struggle that being a parent can be at times. It also gives you a painful look at the issue of infertility and the effect that can have on a family and a marriage.

Both Sarah and Annie are women who are struggling, but for very different reasons. Sarah is struggling with being a mom, while her husband is away all the time. She's the one left raising the kids, and enduring the endless monotony of housework, dirty diapers, and late nights with the kids. Her husband Tom works hard, to provide for them, but as most parents know, something's gotta give. So, he's rarely home, and when he is, all he wants to talk about is work.

Sarah feels under appreciated because he doesn't acknowledge what she does, or offer to help out. Tom thinks that she should be grateful that he provides for them all the way that he does. He does change his ways to help at times when Sarah brings it up, but then his next big project comes up and he's back to working away for long stretches again, and Sarah gets frustrated and starts feeling trapped again.

I really felt for both of these characters. This was easy to do because the author painted such a clear picture of both ends of the spectrum that they were on. I could definitely understand Sarah's frustration at feeling under appreciated and like all she does is clean up after kids all day. I certainly wouldn't want to be in that position either.

And yet, I can also really feel for Annie's character as well. She really wants to be a mother, even though her own mother is less than caring. And it definitely has to be difficult to be surrounded by your husband's family who keep asking when you'll have children all the time. The infertility issues take a big toll on her well being, her marriage, and her work life.

I really appreciate the fact that the infertility issue was brought up directly to both Annie and John's family. The reactions were less than stellar, on the family's part but I'm glad that the author wrote these scenes to show that it is okay to talk about as important issues as infertility and that they don't have to be hidden away all the time.

Speaking of the families, it felt to me like Sarah and Annie should have swapped families and they would have been happier. Each seemed to have a personality more suited to the others' families or things that they would like better, although Sarah's relationship with her mother was very strong.

While the exposition of the issues is great, and very detailed, the dialogue can be a bit stiff at times, which took away from the reading experience for me. Not a whole lot, but it was slightly noticeable. The dialogue seemed too proper, and didn't flow well. It would have been okay if the proper dialogue was used only for certain characters, like Annie, or her mother because of their strained relationship and Annie's mother's need for everything to be perfect. But the stiffness occurred with each character so the flow wasn't quite as smooth as I was hoping for.

I liked the element of the book club in the story as well. It was great to see all the different members come together, somewhat awkwardly, and discuss great books. It was fun to see their different personalities, and to see how they all bonded with one another, particularly Sarah and Annie. I was hoping that the book club might play a more significant role, actually. Maybe it will in the next book in the series.

Another issue that I had with the book was the pacing towards the end, and the lack of resolution at the end. I felt like the book was somewhat unfinished somehow. There are the major events that happened for Annie (I won't say what they are so that I don't spoil them.) Then, it flashes forward to a year later and it doesn't really expand on what's happened to her since then. And I'm one of those people who just has to know what happens to people, especially with issues as serious as these.

Despite the issues I had with the book, I really appreciate its' ability to make me think. It's a great book for women who are on the fence about having kids. It may or may not sway you one way or another but it'll definitely give you an equally clear perspective on both sides of the coin about parenting and what that really entails.

I want to thank WOW Blog Tours for letting me be a part of the tour and allowing me to review this book
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for this honest review.*
( )
  Melissalovesreading | Sep 30, 2018 |
A WHISPER TO A SCREAM by Karen Wojcik Barner
Published by CreateSpace
ISBN-10: 145659365X
ISBN-13: 978-1456593650
Genre: Women's Fiction
At the request of the author, Karen Wojcik Berner, and WOW Tours, a digital edition was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

Synopsis (from WOW tours): Annie Jacobs has dreamed of the day she would become a mother since the first time she held her Baby Tenderlove doll. Unfortunately, biology has not cooperated with her plan, and she finds herself dealing with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility instead of picking out baby names.
Across town, stay-at-home mom Sarah Anderson is just trying to make it through the grocery store without her toddler hurling a box of rice at a fellow shopper. She is exhausted from managing the house, a first grader and a toddler, all without any help from her work-obsessed, absentee husband.
A Whisper to a Scream is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry.

My Thoughts and Opinion: I apologize in advance because I feel I need to start this review off with a caveat. I received this request during the period of my tornado of personal issues. I vaguely remember reading the synopsis, accepted to be a part of the tour but explained that I was not sure when I would be able to read and review the book. I was also told that this was the 1st book of what was going to be a series. When things settled down a bit, I picked up my Kindle, not remembering the premise of the book (one of the negatives of the Kindle-no back cover to read), but the title grabbed me thinking it was going to be a good suspense.

I was wrong. However, what pulled me in were the characters. Sarah and Annie, the 2 main women that the story revolved around became life like from the start. The author's description of their lives, their emotions, their families was written in such a style that this reader could actually empathize with some of their situations. I also liked and thought was a plus, especially from an avid book reader's opinion, was what and how brought these 2 ladies, from different backgrounds, 2 total strangers together and that it was a Book Club. This is the type of book where you get so engrossed with the characters' lives that you feel you become part of "the friendship". It was not a mystery, but the story held me captive due to circumstances in Annie and Sarah's lives and I needed to know what the outcome would be. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and look forward to the next in this series.

My Rating: 3 ( )
  CMash | Apr 15, 2012 |
Overall I really enjoyed A Whisper to a Scream. I feel like Ms. Berner created two main characters that I could relate to even though I am in neither of their specific situations. I am not a stay-at-home mom with a husband on the road and I am not a want-to-be mom with fertility problems. I am a working mom with two children so that puts me somewhere between the two I guess, closer to the SAHM you would think, but then like Annie because I work.

I think that's what made A Whisper to a Scream really stand out to me is the relatability of the characters. I think as a woman (and for the most part this is a book that will appeal to women) no matter where you are at in life you will find something to relate to in both of these characters. Annie and Sarah are very real. They face hardships. They have ups, they have downs, they learn to celebrate the good and deal with the bad most of the time. I loved them. At times I wanted to strangle them but then I understood them. I always came back to understanding them, and then I always came back to loving them. Ms. Berner creates and brings to life wonderful characters and this is her strong suit in writing. Her characters were amazing to me.

Did I have some issues with the book, yes I did, but it didn't spoil my overall love of the book for it's characters. I will eagerly await the second in this series so I can see more of the characters and hopefully get to know more of The Bibliophiles (I'm guessing that is the intent of the series). One of my issues was that some things were paced wonderfully and then things were hurried up and tied up too quickly (or what I thought was too quickly). I wished that it was just a little more evenly paced plot-wise. Another issue I had was jumping around a bit between some of the minor characters. I liked learning about them, but sometimes it left me confused about who it was and why it would be important to the story. I liked having the back story, but by the end, I wished some of that space could have been used to pace the main stories out a little better. That said, again the characterizations are Ms. Berner's strong suit so these back stories really stand out and are memorable even if I had to ask myself who that character was in the framework of the story (who he or she was related to). I also wish I could have seen just a little more of the book club together, but that is a small wish and minor to things overall. These are all personal preferences and really minor in the scheme of how the book was to me and things that only came up after reading the book. While I read the book, I only had complete enjoyment and just kept thinking that I could relate to both women so well.

Overall this book was very much worth my time and yours if you enjoy novels that revolve around the characters. This isn't a happy-go-lucky novel, Sarah and Annie have tough issues to deal with, but in the end I like how they do it. I like that the book club brings them together. I read this book on New Year's Day and it was a great way to spend my afternoon. I went through some emotions but came out feeling happy not drained and eager to see what happens next for The Bibliophiles. I think A Whisper to a Scream is a good start for Karen Wojcik Berner and I'm interested to see where her writing takes her next. ( )
  reading_crystal | Jan 12, 2012 |
Showing 3 of 3
Be very careful what you wish for, you might get it… and not like it at all. Or you realize through the process, that the wish itself wasn’t important, but the process itself and where the process leads you to.

I loved it and highly recommend A Whisper to a Scream to everybody who like contemporary literature!
 
This is the type of book where you get so engrossed with the characters' lives that you feel you become part of "the friendship". It was not a mystery, but the story held me captive due to circumstances in Annie and Sarah's lives and I needed to know what the outcome would be. I truly enjoyed this read and look forward to the next in this series.
 
After finishing A Whisper to a Scream, different readers will probably come away with different messages. It might be one of appreciating the positives of your personal situation. It could be one of balance in life. Or you may come up with something on your own. Whatever your takeaway, I think you’ll find immersing yourself in the lives of Annie and Sarah is an experience worth having.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 145659365X, Paperback)

She could be your sister, best friend, wife, daughter, neighbor. An overwhelmed stay-at-home mom whose husband is too preoccupied with work to spend time with his family. A PR executive scared to death she waited too long to have the baby she has always wanted. When they meet through a Classics Book Club, each thinks the other one's life is so much better than her own. But, is the grass truly greener on the other side of the fence? A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, A Whisper to a Scream speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry. This is the first installment of six novels exploring the lives of The Bibliophiles, a fictional suburban book club.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:36 -0400)

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