Authors often try to work current events or hot topics into their
novels. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It is especially
difficult to write knowledgeably about an emotional issue that they
themselves have not experienced. Infertility is such a topic. As a
veteran of the infertility wars, I can tell you that in THE WOMAN
NEXT DOOR, Barbara Delinsky successfully conveys the frustration
and stress as well as the resultant effects on a marriage in an
absolutely believable manner.
Thirty year old Amanda and thirty-six year old Graham are
newlyweds. They spend the first year of their marriage simply
enjoying each other's company and loving each other. After that
first year, however, they want to start creating a family,
hopefully a large one. After all, Graham comes from a large
Irish-Catholic family, where five or six children are the norm.
With the obvious exception of his brother the priest, all of his
siblings are married and have at least two and as many as five
children already. The same is expected of him. Although Amanda is
an only child, or maybe because she is, she too wants a large
Following their first anniversary, Amanda and Graham buy a house
intending to fill it with children. Both have successful careers.
Graham is a well-respected landscape architect and Amanda is the
school psychologist in the local school district. Both assume that
when the babies come, Amanda will simply cut back on her hours,
working part-time, possibly even from home.
Everything seems idyllic, but a year passes without a pregnancy.
Amanda's gynecologist tells the couple to "relax and give it more
time," something they try to do. Another year passes, and they
begin to make the rounds of the fertility experts. Each specialist
tells them something different; each perform