Posts Tagged ‘young adult literature’

The Forest of Hands and Teeth


Cover of "The Forest of Hands and Teeth"

Cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

What a catchy title, huh?  Kind of unsettling, but intriguing at the same time.  It’s the name of a book, but I’m not here to gush over it (though it is one of the best things you’ll ever read if you are into the latest trend in fiction, the post-apocalyptic world–think Hunger Games) nor am I here to recommend it.  Ok I lied.  I recommend it.  It’s beyond awesome.  

Here’s a brief synopsis of the story.  Mary lives in the last safe place on Earth, a gated village that is home to those who have survived a deadly infection that has wiped out most of the human population.  In the village, Mary has her basic physical needs met, friends and family, and the protection of the powerful Sisterhood whose job is to make sure that the villagers never cross over the gates into the forest.

Yet, Mary hungers for something more and feels called to a place that may or may not still exist, the ocean.  Though she’s only seen it in photographs, she feels going there will make her life complete.  There’s only one problem.  To get to the ocean, she must travel through the treacherous Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Mary, driven by a force that seems greater than herself, ventures out into the forest of Hands and Teeth.  However, there is danger every step of the way.  The Unconsecrated, or those that have become infected by the virus that wiped out the world reside in this forest, only held back by a fragile metal fence.  They relentlessly seek out the living to spread their pain.  Their constant moans and unending hunger for blood never cease.  With one swipe of the hand or one bite of the flesh, Mary’s dreams would be over.

Mary’s journey to her dream is not actually a journey.  It’ a nightmare.  The constant threat of death and hunger are lingering with each step.  Just when she thinks the ocean is merely beyond the horizon, the Unconsecrated unleash their silent fury. 

Being an IF veteran, I can relate the story to my own life.  The story was hard to read because Mary’s journey to the fulfillment of a dream quickly turned to a story of mere survival.  Like Mary, I have a dream and have gone on a journey to accomplish it.  However, the road has become so dark and laborious, that it is now more of a nightmare. I just want to survive.  Like the Forest of Hands and Teeth,  infertility surrounds me on all sides.  It is unforgiving and relentless.  It is unappeasing and unremitting.  I try to ignore it, but the hollow moans of infertility are inescapable.

I don’t choose to surrender myself to infertility but what if I don’t have a choice?  What if it simply reaches through the metal fence and takes me? Its determination is so fierce that I do not know which path to take anymore.   There are paths to take, but there are no guarantees that I will choose the correct one.  So far, my chosen paths have been dead ends and I wonder if there truly is a path that will lead me to my ocean.


The Labyrinth

“How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”

These are famous last words by someone named Simon Bolivar.  Of course I had never heard of Bolivar (well, maybe somewhere) or this quote until I read Looking for Alaska by John Green a couple of years ago.  Here is the entire quote:

 “He was shaken by the overwhelming revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. “Damn it,” he sighed. “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”

These words, or rather this question, have been on my mind today.  For those of you who don’t know (and I certainly didn’t until I looked it up) a labyrinth is similar to a maze or tunnel–one you get easily lost in.  A labyrinth of suffering, so to speak.

I flipped through some old calendars today to count the number of cycles I have been TTC. 

I am on cycle 29.

 Two years ago, I honestly thought cycle 1 marked the start of a short journey.   Like everyone else, I assumed I would conceive a child in a few months.  I was happy and hopeful.  I think I actually glowed at the mere idea of being a mother.  Now I wonder if I’d even recognize that same glowing girl if I saw her.

Today, I asked myself a question I didn’t think I ever would:  Do I even want a child any more or do I just want my suffering to be over?  If I relinquish suffering, do I have to give up the one thing that would make me complete?

I try to have faith.  I believe in God and I believe in science.   But, how much does one person have to endure?  I’ve got to a point where I am just plain tired.  Tired of the what-if’s, tired of the maybe’s, tired of the unanswered questions. 

I feel so lost in this maze, this place I’m expected to navigate but have never been to.  I keep telling myself that there is a way out–somewhere away from this labyrinth of suffering.   

Happy January–the most desolate, depressing month of the year.

Thankful–7 reasons why

It is in my nature to have a somewhat (just a wee, wee bit) snarkish online presence.  I do this in order to avoid dealing with my “real feelings” as my imaginary therapist would put it. Or, maybe I’m just plain weird.  Who knows?  But. . . As the holiday weekend passes, I am reminded that I have tons to thank God for (not to mention being thankful for God himself).  In no particular order (cause intentional ordering would require a lot of planning on my part, and that’s not how I roll), here I go:

1. My husband

Ever have someone walk out of the pages of a storybook into your life?  What I did to deserve him, I’ll never know (I mean, what is he getting out of this deal?).  At the end of one of my worst days, he takes my hand and answers my neverending question: Will we have a baby? with a simple, reassuring Yes, we will. 

2.  My family

Here’s a secret about me:  I have won the lottery!  The family lottery!  I’ve been blessed with parents and siblings (and others) who love me for me.  I truly believe family is your first and most important treasure on this earth.  This reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books: “I think all of us are always five years old in the presence and absence of our parents.”  So very true.

3. My furbabies

Yes, I have three and they are my children now and will continue to be after the addition of human children.  Yes, my chihuahua is whining softly and pitifully at me as I type, trying to convince me she is starving and, yes, my other dog  just sprinkled my laptop with his urine, but I cannot picture my life without them.  Unconditional love, all the time.

4. My insurance

Let’s face it.  If I didn’t have the insurance (and job) I have now, there would be no “conceivable” way to pay for fertility treatments and medication.  Not a chance!  It’s funny–later you see how things have worked out for you in the long run, even when you thought things were hopeless earlier. 



5.  My friends

I have some.  They are awesome.  Even if they did conceive children at the drop of a hat!  I’m happy to say my best friend has really come through for me as I go through infertility.  I assumed that she would only offer condescending advice as others, have but she uttered two words for me that have made all the difference: “I’m sorry.”

6. My health

I am healthy and for the first time in a very long time, I feel good. Until two weeks ago, I came home from work, exhausted, got in bed with my dinner, watched a little TV and fell asleep.  Then, my sister-in-law convinced me to join a gym where various classes are offered each night.  Well, somehow I found the strength I never knew I had and joined. I mean, I have these tiny, cute muscles forming beside my knee caps!  I didn’t even know those existed! (not my knee caps–the muscles!!)

7. Hope

I used to say, “I don’t want hope.  I want a baby.”  Well, I found out the hard way that hope is always necessary and should never be wished away.  So, now I have it.  I want to hold on to it.  It’s the foundation of everything.