Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not All Going to Plan

Double Out and Back
By Lisa Lipkind Leibow

Author Interview
Book Giveaway

Guest Reviewer- U.L. Harper, author of The Flesh Statue

Genre; Fiction/Drama/EBook
Publisher; Red Rose Publishing/New York/2009
Pages; 496

U.L. Harper’s Review; We talk about books being a way to take us somewhere else, to enable us to be somewhere where we could never be. What people usually fail to mention is how books let us think in ways we usually wouldn't think. With that being said I'm a man who has never thought about giving birth and has no intention of giving birth--not just because that at the moment it's mostly impossible, and not just because if I were pregnant my friends would seriously make fun of me, but because I simply couldn't handle all the aspects of it. Solidifying my thoughts on this was my read of Double Out And Back by Lisa Leibow.

This story focuses on Amelia, Summer and Chandy--three women brought together because of one thing: infertility.

Amelia suffers from chronic bad luck with men. At one point she found the perfect wrong man. Perfect because he was attractive and they got along for a duration of time as platonic friends and, well, they were single. He was the wrong guy because he was gay. It took her a few decades to figure it out but there it was--her last chance was, low and behold, pretty darned fond of the same sex. And to make matters worse he found someone to be with, which was something she couldn't do with any reasonable amount of hope and/or luck. Though she still wanted a kid…badly.

Keep that snapshot of Amelia with you as we move on to her niece, Summer.

Summer has bigger problems. Her body is being difficult so she needs to get serious help in getting pregnant by her husband. The question is if that's the actual problem or not. It seems the real problem is that she wants to move up in the chain of command at work. See, if she acts quickly her chances greatly increase to have a child; however, she thinks she can become a partner at the firm and if that can happen then she wants to time her pregnancy so that her life is a little more convenient. To add to it she's pretty sure that her firm is too old fashioned to let her be pregnant with a child and be a partner at the same time. This makes her hesitant to get it done, so to speak. All the while I'm thinking this: What's convenient about having a child? Girl you're crazier than wearing a purple dress on your wedding day. Start your family.

What ties them together is Chandy--the doctor that performs the procedures that can change these women's lives forever. Chandy specializes in infertility and has many answers. She has answers to questions that I didn't even know existed. Or questions that I didn't care existed would probably be more accurate.

In Double Out And Back there isn't some twist at the end when the author reveals that he/she has fooled you and the story isn't really about what you thought it was about. There aren't any huge holy cow ideas floating around as themes. There are no super heroes (and even if there were, do you really want to see Wonder Woman pregnant? Think about it). This book simply relies on solid writing. Period. Because of the spot-on characterizations of Amelia, Summer and Chandy I could connect with this story. No matter the subject matter I can always connect with people. So let's briefly talk about the development of the subject matter. The author clearly knew the subject or researched it well. In the story there are chat rooms that discuss the subject matter in nicely portrayed everyday conversation. I never felt lost in what to me was quite a lot of new information, and you know what, I think I learned something. So there. How all the information came in a timely fashion and through families and through time was a nice touch. All of the information given was meant to be learned through growth of people as a whole, not only growth of intellect.

Now let me make something clear. This is a page turner but not in the traditional sense. It's not that the book reads fast, it's that you read it fast. It has moments when it's more exciting than others, for sure, like when that guy gets murdered, or, of course, the more, let's say, sensual scenes if you know what I mean. Though for the most part this is a novel that you lean back on your couch, turn on some slow jazz (Miles Davis) and just watch these lives read by. Nobody is in a hurry here. Take your time. Let it come to you. Marinate in it. Someone might think of this as slow, but it's not. By the time you leave the story you know the situations and main characters so well that a week later you want to call up the main characters and see how they're doing, which I did. Just kidding.

This isn't to say everything was perfect. There were times when I would have loved to chime in and speak for Summer's husband. I would have been using curse words while telling her that we had to get crazy with it, now woman, now! Look at that clock it's ticking!, but that might just be me. I don't know. There are other times when I wanted to stop Summer from pining over her lame boss. Yes, I gave it away. There is a lame boss in the story. I'm horrible. Spoiler alert!

It's an ebook and by the way it's the first ebook I've ever read. Picked it up on the kindle for under $6. A great reading experience if you haven't tried it. It's like a double out and back as far as reading goes. It'll be out in traditional book form in not too long.

Now to rate this book. Nope. Won't do it. I don't do ratings. I'm an author. I write books and have opinions on books and things related to those books but I can't justify putting what I think on a random scale. What's wrong with 1-7 stars or 1-8.5? How'd we get 1-5 or 1-10? What I can do is this. I can highly suggest this book. I suggested it to my girlfriend and I'm going to suggest it to you readers. I'm also going to suggest it to the other crowd of readers who have already decided it's not for them. Because remember, reading is about not just going to different places, but thinking differently, being inside the mind of someone you might never meet. Enjoy.

My Thoughts; Firstly I would like to thank U.L. Harper for such an in depth, honest and entertaining review.

I am not going to bombard you with too much more, as U.L. has done a great job at laying it all out for you, but I am going to agree with him that this is a highly recommendable book.

This book takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster; sadness and happiness, anger and stress, laughter and tears. Although I am not typically a fan of eBooks (the artificial light gives me a terrible headache) I found that this story glued me to the computer screen. It is well written, full of emotion and the story captivates its reader, be them female or male.

Like U.L. I am going to recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written, well balanced and entertaining read.

Happy Reading!


  1. Great review! Well-written, interesting, and funny. I liked that it was from a guy's perspective. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Don't forget to see Nicole Trists interview on my blog at http://ulharper.com/blog/ And thanks for the comment Tiia. It really is an interesting read with plenty of empathy to go around.