01 May, 2011

Layla's Story

Title: Layla's Story
Author: Vanessa Gorman
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Vanessa Gorman writes the story of her baby Layla. She goes back to the beginning, starting with meeting Layla's father, their complex relationship, her pregnancy, the traumatic loss of Layla not long after she was born and all that came after that loss.

What I thought: OK, this is going to be a really hard review to write. I am very mindful that who I am writing about are real people and so are the  events that happened. While I in no way think my blog is widely read, I have been contacted by authors of books I've review before. Vanessa Gorman also made a documentary about Layla. It started before Layla was born and I remember watching it. I wasn't pregnant at the time, but we were about to start trying for our first. I remember sobbing and being amazed that these people were able to share such a private experience. It's one of the reasons I picked up the book when I saw it at work. I found the book's exploration of the dilemma of being in a relationship where you both want different things, the sharing of raw grief at Layla's death and Gorman's embracing of the experience excellent. Enjoyed is not the right words, but thought provoking. In these areas of the book, I feel Gorman made a small window into a world I am grateful to never had experienced, and allowed me to develop a small understanding of what it's like to live in that world. For all of these reasons, I kept reading. Early on in the book, at the beginning of her and Michael's relationship, Gorman goes into explicit details about their sex life. Now I enjoy the odd titillating read, but I found this uncomfortable and out of place. It was information I didn't need to know and am not sure why you would want to share it with the world. Obviously the sex was good and an important part of their relationship, but I just don't think I need to know the details. I also found Michael's continued need to know there was a way out of the relationship, his need to be able to leave and Vanessa's willingness to put up with this despite the fact was it completely opposite to what she wanted hard to deal with. Vanessa wanted a child. Ached for a child. I get that, I've experienced that. I have also had the partner who was reluctant and if truth be told, would be childless except for me. I understand what it is like to look at a person who you feel is truly your soulmate and think if you can't give me this, I need to leave. I know what it's like to say those words and be terrified of the answer. I'm also lucky enough to know a man who loved me enough to say yes, he would give me a baby.  A man who loved me enough to put aside his reservations to make me happy. To make a huge sacrifice in order to stay with me. And there in lies my biggest problem with Michael. For me, if you truly love someone, you do what is best for them. What was best for Vanessa, was to have a baby. It was a physical ache. Someone who truly loved her would have said yes, or walked away permanently. And while I understand that Vanessa loved Michael, had a strong physical and spiritual connection to him, it was obvious he was never going to give in willingly and even if he did, it was highly likely he wouldn't hang around after.
In the end, Vanessa found someone else. They have two children and a continuing love for Layla.

Recommended for: those who wanted a raw, no hold barred look on loving and losing a child.

Challenges:  100+ Challenge