Trying by Emily Philips


Length: 384 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal buy link for the book

What they say: 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.

The Review: I have to admit when I saw this and heard all the rave reviews I was excited but a little part of me was wondering if it was for me. In reading you’re willing to put yourself into other people’s shoes, walk along with them, whatever way the author leads you, but you do worry when it’s totally comfort zone, and something you haven’t had to deal with, whether you can be impartial. Turns out this wasn’t the problem I had with this book, which was a bumpy ride for me, ups and downs and all in between. But, as they say, I digress.

Olivia and Felix are desperate, obsessed with having a baby. The book opens with an eye opener of a sex scene that had me almost snorting and I settled in, happy out. I loved that both of them want the baby so much, as so often the tale is told of the woman thinking about it non stop and the man saying ‘enough.’ None of that here, and it endeared me to Felix. I’m afraid then the book kind of dropped for me. The book itself was a bit too wordy for me and so people who enjoy something a bit more literary will like this, although it does ease up a lot too, giving us a nice romantic comedy element. We followed Olivia as she struggles, along with other friends who were trying to conceive, watching people around her get pregnant with ease. My biggest issue, I think, was with the group of people I was watching. There was a lot of pretentiousness in the book for me, and this, on top of the bitterness which in all fairness was to be expected given the subject matter, left me reading extremely passively, sometimes pushing myself on. And I think that was the main problem. I just couldn’t connect with anyone, finding them all in a different word in terms of their behaviour and it made me feel old (I’m 37), or past it  or disconnected or something!

It picked up for me in places, so that I was willing them on as a couple, and I laughed a fair bit throughout, but then my lows, including struggling to connect with Olivia’s work colleagues and at times her, were very low. Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: Unfortunately a 3/5


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