Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Reinventing the Rose reviewed by fran lewis
Reinventing the Rose
Author: Kenneth J Harvey
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Two people coming together as one should do so with love and affection. Not always the case. Some create worlds filled with coldness, devoid of feelings and just go through the motions of everyday life in order to exist and get through another day. Anna and Kevin allow you the reader to enter their bedroom from page one of this very thought provoking and controversial book that brings to light the issue of abortion, pro life and who really owns the sperm that is implanted within this young woman? Does anyone have the right to reclaim it and whose body is it anyway? As we hear Anna’s inner voice and we learn from the start that Kevin, her gynecologist boyfriend appears cold and clinical, you feel she is devoid of any real feelings, lacks the motivation to eliminate him from her life and acquiesces to his every wish without regard for what she might really want. Even deeper within this first chapter she compares his back and body to the dysfunctional painting of a rose that she is trying to create. She describes her surroundings quite vividly, compares each thing to a painting or sculptures and gives the reader the feeling that her life and existence is one big painting or art project that has not quite been completed to her satisfaction.
As you turn the page the author takes you on the next journey in her life when she learns that the act has created more than just a simple night of sex. He relates what happens when Kevin’s sperm enters Anna and the end result that she is not pregnant. Reinventing the Rose or creating a picture of one to suit the image she wants. Can you reinvent life the same way?
The book seems to be in three separate yet connected parts. We learn about her relationship with Kevin, her art and her true feelings about her life and why she might have become pregnant and stopped taking her birth control pills. The author gives the reader an inside journey into the birth of an embryo and the many stages it goes through before actually becoming a life. Added to that we learn about Anna and her daily routines and her true feelings about her art, her work and her life’s goals. As Anna enters the doctor’s office many thoughts go through her mind, Kevin’s feelings about her home, where they might live and the fact that their encounters are cold and really quite meaningless. Why would such a talented young girl want to be with someone so cold, clinical and devoid of any real connection or feeling? Yet, we know that she is not much different and often questions her own talent, projects that she had started and those she hopes to complete. The Rose is my favorite flower. My Dad my mom one long stem red rose every Sunday morning. The Rose has so many petals, so perfectly formed yet each so very unique and different. A simple yet complicated flower that Anna seems drawn to and wants to create many paintings with it as the primary focus. As each Rose blooms deepens in color and changes form she buys a new one every fifth day from Mr. Oliver who seems enveloped in her life and her talent.
Then she decides to buy Bareneed a country home and things begin to change. Learning that she is carrying Kevin’s child should have made her life more fulfilled and happy. But, after meeting with the real estate man, Mr. King, gets into an accident thinking about her life, her possible pregnancy and her relationship with Kevin. Waking up would be more than just a starling revelation that she had been in an accident. It would reveal the honest truth about the cold and calculating man she slept with. When Kevin reveals that she is pregnant he wants her to sign papers and definitely terminate the pregnancy. Not wanting to make that decision and realizing the aloofness of his words, the non caring of his actions she buys the house, moves there on her own and hopes to begin her life. Her art is her life and hopefully that would sustain her as the author brings in another part of her life, her past visions and feelings about her mother who has passed and who she misses. What will be the end result and how will Kevin handle the fact that she will not terminate the pregnancy is the main issue of this book. Presenting her with legal papers demanding the sperm that he implanted in her be given back to him as “ Returned Property,” opens up many important legal and moral issues regarding pro choice and pro life. Does the embryo belong to the woman carrying it inside of her? Does it belong to the man? This is a difficult and definitely unprecedented way of discussing this issue but quite creatively written. You can hear the inner voice of Anna and her conflicts as she tries to deal with what comes next.
Anna receives the summons and then tries to wash away the anguish, pain and fear within her by focusing on her painting, cleaning her new home to the point that she becomes ill just from the work itself and the food she is preparing. It is more than the contents of her stomach that leaves her but the sorrow remains. As she turns and goes home she notices a red rose that has replaced a wilted on and wonders how it got there. Door left ajar, she does not remember leaving it open. Followed by a call to her lawyer, and then she takes time to sit back and ponder her thoughts. But, then some odd and unexplained things happen which makes the reader question Anna’s sanity and perspective on reality and life. Hearing voices that call her and yell Mommy. Finding two children at different times, caring for both and yet when reporting it to the police neither child appears or is found. Added to that she sees a third, a boy plus some animals that appear and disappear in her barn. She begins to question herself but even more wonders why Mr. King the real estate agent is constantly showing up with a fresh red rose for her. Speaking to her lawyer’s office she learns that Kevin is going full speed ahead with his hope to take her child from her. Hoping that the case will not come to court before the child is born, she begins to think over her options, which are not many.
What happens next will make you wonder about Anna as she tries to leave Bareneed, Kevin appears to show up at her door along with Mr. King and the rest is a total blur to her. Calling her lawyer and explaining what she thinks might have happened to her, you being to wonder if she is sane or not as she returns to St. John’s. What is really happening to her and who is behind these mind games? The court convenes. Both sides are heard. Theatrics stopped the location of the trial changed and the verdict stated. What happens next is quite surreal for the reader and for Anna as her life takes on a different meaning trying to escape to safety even though she is supposedly being protected. No where to go and yet finding what she thinks is a safe haven she imagines being in cave with children and the scenes described will break your heart and let you know the love this women has in her heart for not only her unborn child but for those she imagines in her mind. But, when Anna finally awakens from her dream she realizes she has been in an accident, her rights taken away and the end result you will have to decide and read for yourself.
Author Kenneth J. Harvey takes the reader right into the courtroom along the lawyers, defendant and the judge. You hear the court’s decision understand the outpouring of support for Anna Wells and the final verdict you need to find out for yourself. What is her final fate? Just what role does Mr. King really play? What does happen to this unborn child? The mysteries behind the children she sees in Bareneed are troubling and quite startling as each reader needs to decide and listen to both sides as they battle between whether to take the embryo and return it as nothing but property to the plaintiff or allow this child to be born. The comparisons made and the journey of the embryo quite compelling as the author compares it to a cockroach which is the way anyone who does not care about a child being born would refer to an insignificant create as many thing roaches are. The voices she hears the love she professes for the children of Bareneed. Is it real or imaginary? The author gives the reader much pause for thought in this very well thought out novel that deals with a serious issue and that no one should have to deal with today. Whose property is an embryo when two consenting adults have intercourse and a child is conceived? The right for any child to be born if the women wants to have it should it be the decision of disinterested parties in a court or should that right be the one whose body is going to be violated and operated on due to the court’s decision. An ending that will keep the reader wondering just what is the fate of the child and this woman.
Well written and well crafted and definitely kept my attention focused on the printed page since I read the book in one day and could not put it down. Thank you for sending me this book to read. Let’s hope Anna paints more pictures and the container that the painter sees is only filled with beautiful red roses and nothing more.
Roses: They are special. Each unique and each has its own story and live span. An embryo is no different. Each unique and each should be given the change to correct its own unique life.
Fran Lewis: reviewer