DNF: The Doctor and the Diva

Monday, October 11, 2010

Title: The Doctor and the Diva
Author: Adrienne McDonnell
Pages: 432
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:
Pamela Dorman (Penguin)
Release Date: July 22, 2010


This is my first Did-Not-Finish review, and I think it's a good book to do it on; the part I read was actually good, but I had a small issue with how it was -- marketed -- for lack of a better word.

The Doctor and the Diva is a historical fiction about a woman who has been unable to conceive a child for the six years she's been married. Furthermore, she is passionate about her opera singing and has to choose between pursuing motherhood and her career. The synopsis contains a sentence, "After struggling for years to become pregnant, Erika believes there is no hope." It also was marketed as a book about the beginnings of fertility treatments. Many people don't realize that even in the very early 1900's, the research and resources were available for doctors to provide fertility treatments.

As a woman who has personally dealt with the struggle of unexplained infertility and all the emotional ups and downs that goes along with that, I was really looking forward to reading this book that I thought I could relate to. And I enjoyed the part I read; it was scandalous and engaging and I thought it looked like it would be a fun book. And for that I would actually recommend this book to others. The part that bothered me was that to advertise this as a book about her infertility was somewhat of a misnomer... I don't want to give too much away, although it's really explained right in the beginning of the book, but it turned out I could not relate to the main character. And I felt that based on the details of the storyline, it was fairly insensitive to market this book as one about a woman who was unable to get pregnant. Because that's not quite how it is. It's like marketing a book to divorcees about a woman learning to cope with the aftermath of a divorce only to find out the character in the book wasn't actually married and really was only with this guy for a couple months. No, their struggle is not quite the same, no matter how in love the character in the book was.

Because of this discrepancy, I felt slightly betrayed. I think that anyone in my personal situation would feel the same way. And this led to me feeling a little frustrated with the story. I found that it was a great story anyway, but because it turned out to be different than what I expected in a way that is very sensitive to me, I felt the need to put this book down and move on to something else. But like I said, I think a lot of people will enjoy this book... these are just my reasons for the DNF. And I also just wanted to point out, I don't know if it was the author or someone else (I'm not sure how that works) who wrote the synopsis on the dust jacket that I felt was improperly marketed.

10 comments:

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I must admit that makes it pretty intriguing. I know what you mean about feeling betrayed. I have found several books that have been mis marketed, so to speak and though they didn't hit me on a personal level, I got disappointed in the story I was getting vs. what the jacket actually said.

Thanks for your honesty.

Zibilee said...

I just received this book for review a few weeks ago, and am not really sure what I will think of it. Your review certainly makes me very curious about the ways that it may have misrepresented itself, so that's one of the things I will be looking at when I do get to this one. Even though you didn't finish this one, I liked your thoughtful approach to the review.

Jennie said...

I think infertility encompasses both male and female aspects so in that case this book was appropriately marketed. I would recommend you finish this one...it really is a good story.

Lenore said...

I've read a fair number of books where I've felt betrayed by the marketing copy too, so I know where you are coming from.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Ooo I've struggled with unexplained infertility too, so I bet this would totallly not be for me either. Thanks for the review darling :)

Jenny said...

Michelle -- I actually do think that I would have normally enjoyed this book.

Heather -- I think it might still be a good book, so hopefully you like it!

Jennie -- It definitely does encompass both, but for me, personally, there is no way I can relate to a woman who actually does have the ability to become pregnant so I cannot relate at all to a woman who is "infertile" for the reasons she is. In my marriage, I'm the entire reason why we cannot have/ have not had children.

Lenore -- I don't know why they do that!

Juju -- yeah, not if you're looking for a character to relate to in that sense. =/

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