Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review: A Whisper to a Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner

A Whisper to a Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publish Date: June 14, 2011
Paperback, 278 pages 
Fiction, Women's Fiction, General Fiction
 ISBN: 9781456593650

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My Review:
Overall I really enjoyed A Whisper to a Scream.  I feel like Ms. Berner created two main characters that I could relate to even though I am in neither of their specific situations.  I am not a stay-at-home mom with a husband on the road and I am not a want-to-be mom with fertility problems.  I am a working mom with two children so that puts me somewhere between the two I guess, closer to the SAHM you would think, but then like Annie because I work. 

I think that's what made A Whisper to a Scream really stand out to me is the relatability of the characters.  I think as a woman (and for the most part this is a book that will appeal to women) no matter where you are at in life you will find something to relate to in both of these characters.  Annie and Sarah are very real.  They face hardships.  They have ups, they have downs, they learn to celebrate the good and deal with the bad most of the time.  I loved them.  At times I wanted to strangle them but then I understood them.  I always came back to understanding them, and then I always came back to loving them.  Ms. Berner creates and brings to life wonderful characters and this is her strong suit in writing.  Her characters were amazing to me.

Did I have some issues with the book, yes I did, but it didn't spoil my overall love of the book for it's characters. I will eagerly await the second in this series so I can see more of the characters and hopefully get to know more of The Bibliophiles (I'm guessing that is the intent of the series).  One of my issues was that some things were paced wonderfully and then things were hurried up and tied up too quickly (or what I thought was too quickly).  I wished that it was just a little more evenly paced plot-wise.  Another issue I had was jumping around a bit between some of the minor characters.  I liked learning about them, but sometimes it left me confused about who it was and why it would be important to the story.  I liked having the back story, but by the end,  I wished some of that space could have been used to pace the main stories out a little better.  That said, again the characterizations are Ms. Berner's strong suit so these back stories really stand out and are memorable even if I had to ask myself who that character was in the framework of the story (who he or she was related to).  I also wish I could have seen just a little more of the book club together, but that is a small wish and minor to things overall.  These are all personal preferences and really minor in the scheme of how the book was to me and things that only came up after reading the book.  While I read the book, I only had complete enjoyment and just kept thinking that I could relate to both women so well.

Overall this book was very much worth my time and yours if you enjoy novels that revolve around the characters.  This isn't a happy-go-lucky novel, Sarah and Annie have tough issues to deal with, but in the end I like how they do it.  I like that the book club brings them together.  I read this book on New Year's Day and it was a great way to spend my afternoon.  I went through some emotions but came out feeling happy not drained and eager to see what happens next for The Bibliophiles.  I think A Whisper to a Scream is a good start for Karen Wojcik Berner and I'm interested to see where her writing takes her next.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

About the Book:
Ovulation detectors. Hormone surges. Anxiety-ridden dreams. This is the world in which Annie Jacobs is thrust when she and her husband John receive a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. A 37-year old PR executive, Annie has wanted to be a mother since she first cuddled her Baby Tenderlove at age five. She is dreading another Christmas of relatives asking when they will be hearing the pitter patter of little feet, and Uncle Joe slapping John on the back, telling him to relax and take a cruise. Lots of people get pregnant on vacation, you know.

Across town, stay-at-home mom of two, Sarah Anderson, attempts grocery shopping with a toddler intent on hurling items from the cart at passersby. She notices a box of rice heading straight for a gray-haired head. Leaping across the aisle, Sarah grabs it, saving the woman from certain doom, or at least a minor head injury. Little Alex screams at being thwarted. The unknowing octogenarian shakes her head and admonishes Sarah for not knowing how to keep her child quiet in public.

"A Whisper to a Scream" is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry.

About the Author (from Goodreads.com): 
Everyone has a story. When walking past the houses on your block during an after-dinner stroll or driving down a rural road dotted with singular farms, have you ever wondered what was going on inside? I have always been interested in people’s backstories. How did they get to where they are today? What ramifications does the past have on the present?

So I decided to bring a group of people together, bound only by their love of classic literature, and see what happened.

The result is The Bibliophiles Series, which begins with “A Whisper to a Scream,” the story of Sarah Anderson, a stay-at-home mother of two, and Annie Jacobs, a PR executive dealing with fertility issues, and continues with each novel devoted to one or two of the Classics Book Club members, including their fearless leader, Edwina Hipplewhite.

I have been a writer/editor for more than twenty-five years, ten of which were spent in editing trade publications. A two-time “Folio Magazine” Ozzie Award for Excellence in Magazine Editorial and Design winner, my work has appeared in countless magazines and newspapers. I have bachelor’s degrees in English with a writing concentration and communications.


FTC Information: I received this book from the author through WoW Tours for an honest review.  I do make money from purchases made at The Book Depository and B&N.com, but all money is used to fund giveaways and shipping for giveaways from the blog.


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