The Unfinished Child – Theresa Shea

Posted 9 May, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 11 Comments


TitleThe Unfinished Child
Author: Theresa Shea
Published: 2013 Pages: 312
Genre: Fiction
Rating: I wish I had read this with my book club

The Unfinished Child in Short: Three women, three different struggles with pregnancy and motherhood (or lack thereof), three stories woven into one.

Why I Read It: Lisa from TLC Book Tours asked if I would like to be part of the tour for this one. Premise sounded interesting enough so I agreed.

Thoughts in General: Confession. I wasn’t really paying attention to the description when Lisa suggested this book. She had originally recommended a thriller and after I told her “ahem, no,” she suggested this one in its place. So shock of all shocks when I tell you that I really had no idea what The Unfinished Child was about when I began it. When I realized it revolved around three different women, Down syndrome, infertility, adoption, jumpy-backy-and-forthy timelines and perspectives, I inwardly groaned a bit.

Shortly into the book, however, I got caught up in the narratives and started to see myself in each of the women even though their experiences are so different from my own–Margaret who in the 1940s institutionalized her daughter with Down syndrome; Marie, the mother of two pre-teens, who accidentally gets pregnant at 39; and Elizabeth, Marie’s best friend who has tried for a decade to have a baby but cannot. Shea fills the pages of The Unfinished Child with so much emotion that it became difficult for me to put the story down. I so appreciated how honest the characters in the book were. I could have had any number of thoughts that these women had–about getting pregnant, about not getting pregnant, about children, the fears during pregnancy.

Not without faults, The Unfinished Child had a few threads that felt heavy-handed and some of the conversations between the characters–whether between the friends or the women and their husbands–felt a little stilted and awkward. Because of the strong characterization and the acute introspection, though, I was able to look the kitschier aspects of the book. The Unfinished Child is such an emotional read on many different levels but what really broke my heart was the description of the institution for children with Down syndrome. I had to hug my babies extra tight while reading this book.

Bottom Line: I was a bit caught off guard at how much I liked The Unfinished Child. It is a heartwrenching and heartbreaking read that also asks so many difficult questions. The Unfinished Child makes an absolutely perfect discussion piece for any book club. I likely wouldn’t have known about this book without the TLC tour but I’m very glad I had the opportunity to read it and recommend it to you.

Thanks so much to Lisa and TLC Book Tours for providing me with copy of The Unfinished Child to review. You can see more information about The Unfinished Child on Goodreads. As always always always, all opinions are my own thankyouverymuch.

11 Responses to “The Unfinished Child – Theresa Shea”

  1. Ti

    I only agree to books that I expect to like but sometimes, a lot of time passes between acceptance and review and so often, I am surprised by how much I like something, I am glad this one worked for you. Every now and then I get a zinger but not often.

  2. what a great surprise, I know what you mean by giving your girls an extra hug. I did that yesterday, even though my guy is 25.

  3. Happy Mother’s Day Trish! *hug* I loved the pics in your post about your mom-mantra. :)

    Thanks for being a part of this tour. I’m thrilled that you ended up enjoying the book, especially since you really didn’t expect to.