By: Fadi Hattendorf
Publication Date: November 2013
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: April 21, 2014
Having children is an amazing thing and many women want to experience this with all of their heart. Unfortunately, sometimes nature does not allow this experience for some women and if their desire for a child is strong enough they will look for other means of having children. That is just what this book shows as three unconventional families find out that they have more in common than they ever thought when the past is revealed to all of them. Choices that one generation made ultimately affected the next generation in how they viewed who they were and where they came from. For some, the news that they were created from completely unknown DNA was extremely hard to take and it changed forever the way they saw their own lives and everyone else they came in contact with. It was hard to shake the fact that now every person they saw could possibly be related to them in some way and they would never know it.
For Mana, knowing that her mother decided to use a sperm donor to have a child caused her intense confusion as she felt empty, incomplete, and a little lost. Even though her mother married after giving birth to her and she had a life full of support and love, there was no shaking the thought that she might have half siblings passing her by in the street. Eventually Mana is able to put these thoughts behind her and finds love in a man named Kalak who she has two sons with. Everything is going wonderful until Kalak learns from his mother that his birth was also the result of anonymous sperm donation. Mana and Kalak’s perfect world suddenly comes crashing down as each realizes that there is a slight possibility that they could be related! Will this information tear apart what they have built even though none of it was their choice?
The direction that Fadi Hattendorf presented this book in was something I did not expect but ended up finding very interesting. Some background information was given about the parents' choices to find other reproductive options but the main focus was on how these decisions affected the lives of their children. Using this view made the writing intriguing for me and it brought up the possible negative consequences of using alternative reproductive options that I had never thought about before. I do not have children of my own so I thought that it might be difficult for me to relate to this story. However, because the perspective of the children was highlighted, I found it quite easy to relate to and enjoyed seeing these different views. Hattendorf does a great job of connecting each of the families in the story and this keeps the reader hooked waiting for the next set of clues that will reveal how each person is connected. I was pleasantly surprised to find that An Evolving Society was not all filled with facts and figures but took a closer look at the emotional reactions of every person that is affected.
Quill says: This is a uniquely written story that keeps the reader thinking all the way through to the end.