Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Paternity Test

Author: Michael Lowenthal
ISBN: 978-0-299290009
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Rating: Recommended

Having a baby to save a marriage—it’s the oldest of clich├ęs. But what if the marriage at risk is a gay one and having a baby involves a surrogate mother?

    Pat Faunce is a faltering romantic, a former poetry major who now writes textbooks. A decade into his relationship with Stu, an airline pilot from a fraught Jewish family, he fears he’s losing Stu to other men—and losing himself in their “no rules” arrangement. Yearning for a baby and a deeper commitment, he pressures Stu to move from Manhattan to Cape Cod, to the cottage where Pat spent boyhood summers.

    As they struggle to adjust to their new life, they enlist a surrogate: Debora, a charismatic Brazilian immigrant, married to Danny, an American carpenter. Gradually, Pat and Debora bond, drawn together by the logistics of getting pregnant and away from their spouses. Pat gets caught between loyalties—to Stu and his family, to Debora, to his own potent desires—and wonders: is he fit to be a father?

    In one of the first novels to explore the experience of gay men seeking a child through surrogacy, Michael Lowenthal writes passionately about marriages and mistakes, loyalty and betrayal, and about how our drive to create families can complicate the ones we already have. The Paternity Test is a provocative look at the new “family values."

My Thoughts: 

The Paternity Test is a novel that is sure to turn a few heads as it takes a look at our evolving world and the many different types of families within it. I accepted this book for review because it’s quite different from most books in its genre. The writing is strong, weaving emotions throughout the story that are sure to tug at your heartstrings no matter what thoughts you may have on the topic. However, given that the subject matter attacks a widely opinionated topic, there are sure to be those that love and those who hate this book.  Keeping all personal thoughts and beliefs out of it, this author has a wonderful writing style, imaginative story, colorful characters and something to say that begs you to listen.  If it peaks your interest, go for it.

*Thank you to BookSparks PR for providing this review copy. Visit them at


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