While I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, I do enjoy a good memoir so when I was contacted by Shannon Garner and asked to review the account of her journey through surrogacy, I couldn’t resist.
Altruistic Surrogacy is a subject that has always fascinated me and, while books like Dawn Barker’s Let Her Go (which I loved), shed some light on it, Shannon Garner has been through it.
Happily married with two beautiful children of her own, Shannon’s determination to pursue her desire to be a surrogate drove her to carry out meticulous research for a complex and emotional process that remains, even in today’s day and age, a controversial subject.
With honesty and insight, she explores the highs and lows of being an altruistic surrogate in Australia and, in the process, gives the reader a glimpse into an oft misrepresented process with all its legal, clinical and ethical complexities along with the (not always positive) perceptions of friends, family and strangers.
Her joys, struggles and fears are all here and I take my hat off to Shannon because it’s not only a difficult decision – one that affects not just the surrogate but her wider family – but it’s also a journey that only a very special few are able to make and her dedication, commitment and self-sacrifice is to be commended.
With the flair of a natural storyteller, Shannon has lovingly documented her (and her family’s) profoundly personal journey, answering a lot of questions while writing with heart, humour and a light and friendly tone that sets a warm and intimate atmosphere - which leaves me in no doubt that this is who she is in real life.
An absorbing, insightful and inspiring memoir with contemporary relevance, Labour of Love is a story of love, family, hope, pure selflessness and the joy of giving that I highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of heading down the surrogacy path as well as those who, like me, just find the surrogacy world to be so fascinating.
Thanks goes to Shannon Garner for providing me with a hard copy for review.
About the Author
Shannon Garner is first and foremost a mother to two beautiful children, a wife, surrogate and then a writer, passionate about the craft of storytelling. She lives in a seaside town on the New South Wales north coast in a timber cottage complete with the white picket fence!
Shannon started concentrating on her writing in 2009 when her first child was born and hasn’t looked back. Her writer’s group encouraged her to delve into non-fiction after the birth of a surrogate child she carried for a gay male couple from Sydney and with that… her first memoir “Labour of Love” was born.
She is delighted that her memoir about her altruistic surrogacy journey was released on the 1st July 2016 and hopes you will enjoy her journey as much as she did.
Shannon has started writing her first fiction novel which is a family saga spanning many decades set in rural England and Australia, two places held close to her heart.
About the Book
A story of generosity, hope and surrogacy
Shannon Garner met and married the man of her dreams, had two gorgeous children and lived an idyllic life on the New South Wales coast. So why did she decide one day to pursue altruistic surrogacy? And what made her choose a gay male couple from Sydney?
Labour of Love is Shannon’s honest and engaging story – a rollercoaster of emotion set against the backdrop of a highly regulated ‘industry’. This is no account of heartache and conflict but an uplifting story of ‘a collective love’ – one that involves a handful of people from very different walks of life who end up being so much more than family.
As Shannon travels her journey of body, mind and soul, she lays bare the loving reality behind surrogacy, but also the trouble she found along the way.
Finding strength in unexpected places, Shannon pushed past the negativity of others to discover the courage she needed to selflessly carry and birth a baby that will not be her own – and to bring the gift of a precious life and soul into the world, to be loved and cared for by her new adoring parents.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Pub date: 01/07/2016