Two-Week Wait: An I.V.F. Story

The intimate struggles of a husband and wife desperate to become parents might not be universal literary fare, but with millions of couples worldwide attempting conception via IVF, Two-Week Wait will surely, deservedly find sympathetic audiences. Luke C. Jackson and Kelly Jackson "began their own IVF journey in 2011 and are now parents of two daughters"--transparently revealed on the first page. They share those experiences through a fictional lens in a debut graphic novel in collaboration with multimedia artist Mara Wild (who happens to be Luke's former student).

Conrad and Joanne once felt they had "all the time in the world" to have kids. They met in university, married, have "good jobs," Joanne says, and are "relatively together people," Conrad adds. After a year of trying (and too much "medical googling"), Joanne laments her "officially geriatric" eggs. Their ordeal of becoming parents requires invasive tests, hormones and procedures, yet even more challenging is the emotional roller-coaster of waiting and hoping, and finding the tenacity to try again (and again).

The couple remains forthright throughout: their envy over friends' pregnancies and others' children, the financial drain, the toll on their professional and social relationships, asking for help from parents as 30-somethings. They consider giving up--even on each other. Wild reflects these ups and downs, highs and lows, with a palette of mostly grey-to-blues and salmon-to-reds, drawn in flowing strokes and layered shadows, from markedly different points of view--from the side, from above, as if visual reminders to consider all angles. The creative trio's combined efforts provide an insightful, moving tale. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

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