Friday, February 25, 2011

Inconceivable ~ Book Review

By now you may have already heard of Carolyn and Sean Savage. I'll be honest, I hadn't. Not until I saw a blurb about their book and decided that I just had to read it. So while I anxiously awaited the book's arrival, I avoided all of the various discussions about the couple on the news, the interviews with shows like Today, and whatever else was available for me, as I didn't want to know all the details until I got through the book.

Inconceivable arrived on Friday afternoon, and I finished it on Monday. Three days later. My life, for those three days, evolved around the Savage family and their -- what -- tragedy? Turmoil? Blessing?

So few words fit the situation appropriately.

See, Carolyn and Sean Savage had a family of five. But they weren't complete. They had conceived their daughter MK via IVF, and when they did so they had several embryos frozen, waiting to join their lives. So they gave it one more go. And Carolyn was, indeed, pregnant. Hooray! What a beautiful and emotional moment.

And then, not.

Not quite beautiful. I mean, every pregnancy can be looked at as beautiful. And hers was. But not - what - not what they expected. Truly emotional, as finding out you are pregnant can be, expected or not. But not all the right emotions. Not this time.

There was a mix-up at the fertility clinic and the lab impregnated Carolyn with the wrong embryos. Carolyn was pregnant, but not with her and Sean's baby.

Impossible. Right? Pregnant? Finally? And it wasn't their child?

As a woman I cannot imagine how violated Carolyn felt, how she entrusted her body to science and it failed her. As a mother I cannot imagine the moment of realizing that I did, indeed, have a baby inside of me and the thrill of feeling how I would grow to love that child, and then, suddenly, learning this baby was not truly mine.

This book was overwhelming, and incredible. I don't know how much of their story you know, so I don't want to give it all away, just in case. I mean, just reading the back of the book you learn that they live in Ohio with their two sons and one daughter, so you get that baby [boy] never joined their immediate family. You know this, early on, is the plan. And yet, the ups and downs, the true emotions felt by the family, friends, loved ones ... you second guess a little bit along the way.

Will they be able to give up this baby? What will that be like for them?

As a reader, a mother, it's unfathomable to me. And yet, I got it. I read. I turned page after page and I learned about them, their support system, and I got it.

It didn't hurt ME any less as I reach each chapter of their journey, so I can only pretend to imagine how it was for them.

This book is a powerfully worded story, of truth, love, compassion, and, as the subtitle says, 'the Ultimate Gift.'

I recommend it as an interesting read, and think if it were not a true story it would have boded well as a mystery, of sorts, and an emotional family tale. But knowing that it IS true. It happened to these people. I can only breathe a sigh of relief when I turn the final page.

I will add that my copy is a proof copy, so I'm missing the final note by the authors. I also have to confess that I'm thankful in some regards that it was a proof copy. Because that image at the top of my post? That cover photo? I didn't have to look at it as I flew through the book. I don't know if I would have been able to handle seeing them every time I picked it up, because it breaks my heart what they went through together. Because every time I see that picture, my heart breaks for them just a little bit more. Because now, after reading? I feel like I know them. Like they are my friends. I can't judge, I can't guess, I can't even fully imagine, and I certainly cannot understand. I just read. And encourage you to. If you're interested in hearing their experience from them.

And yet, I also kind of want to pick up a copy at the bookstore so I can at least read their final thoughts. Because I can't imagine what life is like for them now. A family of five, that was six, briefly, before one had to go away.

** I was not compensated in any way for this review. I was provided with a copy of the book to facilitate my review. All expressed opinions are strictly my own. There are affiliate links in this post. **


  1. WOW! Just WOW! I don't think I could read this... it would break my heart too much... what amazing people!

  2. I read this book on Friday. In one day, it was THAT compelling. I saw the Savages when they appeared on The Today Show and was intrigued and touched by their story. When they wrote a book, I knew I had to read it. It is very touching. They are truly wonderful people with a strong moral code. My heart goes out to them.

  3. I saw them on 20/20 or dateline or whatever it was.. I will say I was amazed with how brave and forgiving they were.

    If you liked this story, you should really read "An exact replica of a figment of my imagination" I bet it is the same vibe.

    I read it in 3 hours. (and you know me.. I am NOT a reader!)

  4. Having gone through fertility treatments myself I can't imagine what this family had to go through. I was actually leery to read the book because of my own experiences, but after your review I think I might pick it up.

    Thanks for being on this tour. And definitely go find that epilogue and see what happened next - I know I'd have to! :)

  5. Andrea, Thanks so much for the glowing review. It means so much to me that you "got it"!

    There is no doubt that the book itself is an emotional read. The pregnancy was an emotional roller coaster and the aftermath has also been challenging. Knowing that writing the book would force us to re-process all of those tough moments was daunting, but Sean and I are so glad that we did! It helped us gain perspective on our experience.

    I found the link to this review on If you have any questions...or your blog followers would like to engage, I'm really active on our FB "like" page and I'm also happy to come back over here for a discussion.

    Thanks again for the review. It means a lot to Sean and I!


  6. Hi Andrea, I tripped over the link to this review on Goodreads and was so happy I did.

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed our story.


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