Book Review: Trying by Emily Phillips

Trying by Emily Phillips

Release Date: 25th January 2018

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Buy: Hardback  Kindle

Olivia and Felix are trying for a baby. They even moved to the suburbs in anticipation of their future family. But despite approaching her cycle and their sex life with military precision, there's still no sign of what felt like the sure next step, whilst friends' broods seem to be growing by the week. Meanwhile, vying for a promotion at work under the (very attentive) watch of a new boss sends Olivia down a dangerous road of risking it all. Does a happy ever after, she starts to question, even have to include a baby?
A hugely funny, searingly honest comedy for fans of Sharon Horgan's Catastrophe, Dawn O'Porter's The Cows and Mhairi McFarlane's It's Not Me, It's You.

After moving to Boringhamwood (sorry, Borehamwood) and taking sensible-yet-not-dream jobs, Olivia and Felix are ready to settle down and start a family. Which is proving to not be as easy as it sounds, as the couple reach almost two years of trying for a baby with zero results.
They have tried everything and track Olivia's ovulation with military precision, yet each month brings a new wave of disappointment for the couple as Olivia is relentlessly visited by Aunty Flo. Everyone round them (and I mean EVERYONE) is starting a family, their friends have now become smug parents and their instagram feeds are packed full of cherubic little faces staring back at them.
As their disappointment grows, inevitably their relationship starts to suffer. They stop talking to one another and lose track of what is really important in their mission to become parents.
Throw into the mix difficulties at work for Olivia (And when I say difficulties I mean a battle for promotion where she is pitted up against one of her friends and then the appearance of hot Scandinavian Mads in the office...), on top of the added pressure from their families, and Olivia and Felix are pushed to breaking point. 

Is it worth risking their life, careers & relationship all for the sake of starting a family?

When I first read the synopsis for Trying I knew it was one of those books that I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO READ. It looked to be one of those books that was both funny and heartbreaking in equal measure and couples struggling to conceive is such a hot topic at the moment and one that I can't ever recall reading about in the form of fiction, therefore I was really excited to give this a go.

It certainly didn't disappoint. I know it's only February but Trying is already a contender for one of my favourite books of 2018 and it's going to be a hard one to beat.
I loved Olivia immediately. My heart broke over the fact that she wanted something which seemed to come so easily to those around her. It felt as though her nose was rubbed into her baby-less-ness at every opportunity, whether that was though work, friends, family...She was being pressurised at every turn and seemingly doing everything right. I felt her frustration, I felt her anger and I just wanted to give her a big old cuddle. She did things that annoyed me and there were times I just wanted to scream at her, but she was only human and we all make mistakes. I felt she was a very relatable character and one who was easy to bond with.
I also loved Felix. As well as being incredibly handsome, he was kind, loving and thoughtful. The two shared a wonderful relationship and it was painful to watch it disintegrating before my very eyes with each passing month. This may not be the case (but it has always felt this way to me) that when couples are trying for a baby the emphasis is very much on the woman and the thoughts, feelings and emotions of the man maybe get a little overlooked. Therefore it was fascinating and heartbreaking to see how the events of the story effected Felix. His friends were having babies too and he was there at all of the guess-the-gender parties and other crazy events thrown by his baby-obsessed mates. Felix was another one that I just wanted to give a big old cuddle...Whilst bashing his and Olivia's heads together. They made such a gorgeous couple (I was completely mooning over the way that they met one another. They were just so right for each other. You know you've found 'the one' when you can rave to 90's club tunes in your living room together.)

As handsome and hair-swishing as he was, I didn't like Olivia’s new co-coworker Mads. I had an inkling about him and I couldn't wait to discover as to whether I was correct. That's all I'm saying on the matter so as not to give away any spoilers, but personally I wasn't keen. Plus he wore serial-killer gloves. Enough said.

I loved the extra little bits that were added to the story, such as the snippets of text messages and emails. I always love it when novels have bits like this included; it feels as though I am nosing in on someone’s messages (or is that just me!?) and it gave the book a very modern feel.

I really enjoyed Emily's writing. She has taken a highly sensitive topic and written about it with genuine care and thought. She manages to combine humour, heartbreak, love and loss all in one cracking novel and I really applaud her for that. The story is realistic and very clever in the way in which it portrays the emotion that the characters are going through. At the same time it's not all doom-and-gloom and there are so many hilarious moments that had me almost attractively snorting coffee through my nose.

If you have ever been in a similar position to Olivia and Felix then I highly recommend you read this book. You can also tell that in some of the elements of this story Emily is writing from personal experience and this is both touching and adds to the searingly honest feel of the book.

If you are looking to read something just that little bit different then I highly recommend Trying. It's warm, honest, funny, tender and also hugely powerful.


A huge thank you to publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, for the opportunity to review.

1 comment:

  1. to publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, for Emily Phillips : if it is a true story they should try to get to The London Centre for NaPro Technology 71A Greenwich S St, London SE10 8NT
    Telefon: 07714 450672 or, or FertilityCare™ Irland, Galway