F. Robert Lea
Outskirts Press (2009)
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (04/10)
Sue and Mike Anderson have been unable to conceive a child due to Mike’s low sperm count. Joe and Marilyn Gordon find themselves in a similar situation, except Marilyn is the infertile party. Selfishly, Sue convinces Joe to secretly get together to create a baby, which solves Sue’s problem but not Joe’s. After their deceit is discovered, their spouses eventually come to terms with their actions and even agree to later allow them to create another baby for the Gordon’s.
The story is quite interesting in the beginning with the rendezvous between Joe and Sue and the reactions from their respective spouses. After all, is infidelity wrong if the other party gives his or her approval? However, as the story progresses, more couples are added and it deteriorates into a bunch of people sleeping around (“swingers”) and making babies without any concern for who the fathers may be. It almost seems as if they are just trying to diversify the gene pool for future generations. To me it makes a mockery of both the sanctity of marriage and the special bond a couple shares when it creates new life.
While the plot is wild and mildly entertaining, I have several issues with “Surrogate.” Firstly, there are two characters named Bill. It is challenging enough to remember which people are together without the added problem of differentiating between the Bills. Secondly, one chapter in this book (which is fairly short to begin with) seems completely unconnected with the rest of the story. It seems as if the story was originally longer and during the editing process, it was not removed. There are also other editing issues – mostly punctuation, but also some incorrect words – that I find distracting.
“Surrogate” by F. Robert Lea is obviously written for women and is based on the premise that a woman who is unable to have a child with her spouse will use any means available to get one. It is a good choice for someone looking for a light read and an escape from reality. It may particularly resonate with women whose marriages have become dull and are seeking ways to shake things up in hopes of adding some spice to it.