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Inconceivable - Ben Elton

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      26.08.2011 18:29
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      An excellent book

      Inconceivable - Ben Elton


      I was bought this book a few years back and have only recently got around to actually reading it! The book comes in both paperback and hardback form and the prices on Amazon are very similar falling between £2.00-£4.00 new (not including p&p). A very reasonable price in my opinion.

      Inconceivable tells the story of Sam Bell and his wife Lucy as they struggle to conceive. Each has very different feelings about this situation; Sam envisaging rivers of vomit and sleepless nights and Lucy, desperate for a baby, can not even walk past baby shops without crying. Lucy becomes so desperate that she is prepared to try anything, even some new age remedies including an intimate use of nutmeg oil and al-fresco lovemaking, though Lucy has to face up to the possibility that she is infertile and through this, her love for Sam is sent into a tailspin.

      With everything else going on in his life, Sam becomes desperate to escape his job in the BBC, and conceives the inconceivable; he turns the intimacies of their battle to conceive into an acclaimed movie script, with some help from his wife and her ideas, and although at first, he is very reluctant, it soon becomes apparent that there is more about his experiences which he can write and through that he may just be able to save his relationship.

      I have not really read any of Elton's books before, although I do have a few on my book shelves, though I personally think that after reading this, I may be picking more of his work up very soon!

      The style is deliciously inviting and covers both the male and female perspectives well. Not knowing what Elton's books were like, I was wary about picking this genre of story up, though I need not have worried, as amid the emotional topic, there is some really fantastic humour on almost every single page. Most of the time, it is almost split into two different styles of story. The humour is set on the male side, whereas Lucy's perspective brings in the more serious thoughts and feelings to keep the story close to real life.

      The two main characters are wonderfully written and very diverse in their own ways. Their personalities really jump out of the page and it is perhaps largely due to them that the book is so successful, though of course the story in itself is brilliant also.

      I loved both the story and the style of writing in this book and can not believe that it took me so long to read! Do not be put off by the emotional and serious topic which this story covers as, even if you are not one for books like this (synopsis wise anyway), you will find that you will really appreciate the humour and be laughing out loud throughout from beginning to end.

      Fully recommended!

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        17.02.2011 16:01
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        Overall a fantastic read

        I was totally engrossed when I read this book, it is a humorous tale of a Sam and Lucy's desperation to have a baby, Lucy crying at every baby shop window and Sam feeling sick at the thought of a snotty nosed kid in his life, it is written in almost diary form, Sam has been sacked from his job and is now writing a film script about their trials and decided to read Lucy's diary to get the woman's view. There is so much good stuff in this book, you really need to read it and the hippy remedies are hilarious.

        I found it hard to put this book down, I went from laughing to crying at the turn of a page, the film "maybe baby" does not do this book justice, the characters you create in your mind that are so well written really enables you to feel their pain as well as laugh at their joy.

        It was rumoured that this was a book about Ben Elton's own trials and tribulations in trying for a baby, but that was never confirmed, however to write this book with such feeling makes me feel it must have been a subject close to his heart.

        I would recommend a few people hire this book from the library as it is a very good book to talk about as it goes through all the emotions, I think even the men may like this one for the humour

        Inconceivable is available new from www.amazon.co.uk from £4.93 in paperback.

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          08.06.2010 21:49
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          A great book that I totally recommend

          Inconcieveable is a book written by Ben Elton and is the story of a young couple, Lucy and Peter, who are trying to have a baby, but the struggles just keep on coming as the months go by and yet still no conception. I have recently learned that the film Maybe Baby was based on this book, but personally I do not recommend the film.

          I found this book to a brilliant read, and it was actually the first book of Ben Elton's that I read. I read it straight through in one go, as I just could not put it down. The emotional portrayal in this book is a great one, and you really do feel for the characters as they go through their struggle of starting a family. There is a whole range of emotions you feel from reading this book, from Sadness and heartbreak, to laughter and joy.

          The book is written in a brilliant way, and at no point during reading this book did I find I was bored. Quite an easy read, the book is a good one to read in bed at night or on the train to work. I found it quite a quick read but I am quite a fast reader. If you have not yet read any of Ben Eltons work, this would be a good one to start with as it is actually quite funny, yet emotional and heart felt at the same time. The story is a brilliant one, and I believe most people will enjoy the book.

          I actually borrowed this book from a friend, but I believe it is still available for purchase in Waterstones and on Amazon. You may also be able to pick up a copy from a local charity store, or alternativley, check out your local library. I totally recommend this book and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did.

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            17.01.2010 21:15
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            Definately read it

            I loved this book, and I am sure if you have ever been through trying to concieve a baby and came out the other end with a baby, you too will find this a brilliant funny read. I could relate so much to the charecters in the book for quite some time, I was lucky I never had as many problems as they did, but in the 6 months we were trying to concieve we used many methods in this book that looking back I find laughable.

            It is the story of a couple, Sam and Lucy, Lucy is desperate for a baby after a long road of trying she is pretty much crying walking past anything baby related, Sam on the other hand, although he wants to have a baby isnt as fussed and is more concerned about the dirty nappies and vomit having a baby will entail. the book takes you through their journey through trying to concieve using natural methods and IVF, you hear all about positions, doctors appointments, tests on both of them and the all important pregnancy tests, its an emotional book but is written in such a clever way it has you laughing through most of it.
            There is quite a twist half way through, I dont want to ruin it but throughout it I just couldnt put the book down. I read it very quickly which is quite unlike me.
            It is written in diary form, each chapter an insert of each of the couples diaries.
            If you enjoy the book try out the film Maybe Baby as well, it really will have you laughing.

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              30.08.2009 11:49
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              Really poignant, funny, romantic book from Ben Elton!

              Quick Review::

              A beautifully poignant Romantic Comedy from Ben Elton. This novel is written in an "Adrian Mole Diary" style and follows Sam and Lucy in their desperate quest for a child. This is full of laugh out loud gags, no really, I found myself chuckling out loud on quite a few occasions but it's not without a few tear-jerking moments, failed IVF treatments, betrayal, jealousy. Its a very easy read and a very enjoyable one too!


              Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*


              Inconceivable follows the lives of Sam and Lucy a couple desperate for their first child. The books alternates between the couples diaries recording their day-to-day lives. This forms the basis for the entire book and although the only insight we get into their lives is through the diaries it is more than enough and works really well. Sam works at the BBC as a producer and Lucy works at a talent management agency.

              The diaries showcase the different methods and approaches they take in their quest for conception; romping on hills, the every day method, etc, etc. It also gives us an insight into their lives and their colleagues which is extremely important given the diary approach to the book. Obviously the books leads up to the inevitable will they, won't they have a baby, but I am not spoiling that here :)

              Even though the topic of the book is extremely senstive to many readers it is very well written. The comedic aspect is very tastefully done and you genuinely feel for the main characters. As i said i found myself laughing out loud and also wiping back the tears throughout.

              So inclusion I thoroughly recommend this book, it is quite a lengthy read at 367 pages but also very easy to read.

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              14.04.2009 15:11
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              Sam and Lucy- in love but want different things .

              Inconceivable by Ben Elton: -
              Hilarious novel written by Ben Elton, published in 1999 by Bantam Press-

              Summery: -
              Sa and Lucy are happily married and in love but despite their feelings their ambitions are very different. Lucy wants a baby more than anything in the world. Sam wants to write a hit movie. Lucy convinces Sam to want the same thing and so they undergo many embarrassing and simultaneously entertaining procedures. Sams creativity has run dry so he talks his inspiration from home and documents their infertility problems as a comedic movie for the world to see. How will Lucy react- will their love survive?

              In my opinion this book offers alot. Although its main function is to entertain which it does very well (I looked insaine laughing out loud haha) It also gives insightful infomation into the emotional starain on infertile partners. It graphically explains many of the proceedures undertaken my infertile couples and allerts us to their suffering. Many people never know their infertile till they try to have a child, this book does well to broach the issue.
              Very funny- a bit emotionally- very witty

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                10.04.2009 18:12
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                Comedy about having babies

                Ben Elton tends to churn out easy to read satirical books which are a bit like fast food, you sort of enjoy it while your eating it but afterwards you still feel hungry and in some cases I have found that with his books I have been left wanting more at the end, that or after afew weeks I have little memory of the book, Inconceivable falls into this category, an enjoyable read but nothing memorable.

                The book is about a couple in their thirties who are desperate to start a family, the story is told alternatively from their own points of view through diaries that they keep. Sam and Lucy are part of a comfortable middle calss set of people in the entertainment business. Sam is a little closed off and at first does not like the idea of writing his thoughtsdown, something Lucy tries to encourage however after a while he gets into the swing of things.

                This is at times a touching book as you can feel the desperation of Lucy to have a child and at the same time it is very funny as you see the polar attitudes of the two individuals as they interpret the same even from different angles and slowly descend into a spiral of conflict and mistrust.

                This book is very readable and the lack of chapters makes it one of those books that is hard to put down, I rattled through it over a couple of days reading and on the whole I enjoyed it, I'm just not sure I would want to read it again or if I will have any strong feelings over it in a few months time but then I tend to find that with most of his work.

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                  05.06.2008 15:43
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                  Not a masterpiece, but worth a quick read if you're on holiday maybe.

                  To my great annoyance, I'm not much of a reader anymore. I work too much, go out too much, sleep too much and have a boyfriend to entertain - reading seems to take a bit of a back seat in amongst the rest of my life, especially as I haven't been commuting for the last two years (alas, all this is about to change!).

                  In times of being a busy little bee like this, then, my main essentials in a book are a little different to normal: I look for something easy on the brain, and very "dip in and dip out"-able. This book, therefore, was perfect for my needs. I wouldn't, however, rate it as a literary masterpiece. It is a nice, predictable beach read rather than a new classic.

                  Inconceivable is the tale of Sam and Lucy, a married couple in their 30s who are trying for a baby. Sam works for the BBC, in their TV comedy department. He is frustrated with his job there because he finds a lot of the new breed of comedians he is forced to deal with both unfunny and egotistical - plus, he harbours a dream of being a comedy writer himself, but hasn't managed to write his masterpiece yet due to a lack of inspiration. He loves Lucy wholeheartedly, and does want a baby, but is baffled by her feeling that she will not be complete until she is a mother - their relationship is enough in itself for Sam to be happy.

                  Lucy works in the office of a talent agent. She isn't particularly devoted to her job as she has an all-consuming need for a baby. Her and Sam have been trying to conceive for over five years and she is rapidly reaching the end of her patience and sanity. She decides that it will help both of them on the path to becoming parents if they each write a journal of their feelings from day-to-day. The book is written in the form of snippets from each of their journals, alternating between the two characters to give the reader both of their perspectives.

                  Inconceivable follows the characters' attempts to conceive and their thoughts and feelings about the baby they are trying to make. We see Lucy's utter desperation and need for a baby, and Sam's hopelessness when he feels there is nothing he can do to make it better for Lucy. The story of Sam and Lucy, on the whole, is a poignant and sad one - the couple who can't have a baby, and can't find a medical reason for their infertility. There are, however, moments of comedy - sperm tests, fertility rituals, advice on conception from Lucy's new-age friend.

                  Elton is known as a comedy writer, so it's no surprise that this is a comedy novel. It isn't as dark as some of his other work, with the humour being centred around sex jokes, sperm jokes and "differences between the sexes" jokes. This is enough to raise an occasional snigger, but not ground-breakingly funny stuff, and does get a bit tired by the end of the book.

                  My main problem with holding this book in any sort of high literary regard is that it is so very predictable. I worked out the whole of the plot within the first few chapters, and found myself impatiently waiting for it to happen. I wasn't disappointed - I had worked it all out to the letter. There is a very feeble attempt at a plot twist at the very end of the novel, but even this was pretty much expected.

                  All in all, I would recommend this book for times when you don't want to think too hard about your reading material. It is entertaining, fairly interesting and very easy to read. It is not a very clever book, it will not change your life, and it is pretty much the most predictable book I've ever read.

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                    06.07.2007 18:15
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                    Nice read without challenging the old grey matter

                    I have read books that have long drawn out chapters, I have read books that have short punchy three page chapters, I have read books written as diaries and even a book written entirely as e-mails but this was the first book that I have read that had no chapters and hence no sign posted markers to when you could consider taking a pause from reading instead this book is basically made up of two separate journals which record the thoughts and life experiences of a thirty something married couple as they desperately try to start a family.

                    The story is set in London with the married couple Sam and Lucy Bell both enjoying reasonably successful careers, Sam with the BBC while Lucy works for an entertainment agency with a number of film and TV stars on their books. It was Lucy idea for both parties to maintain a secret journal to record their thoughts as secretly she hoped that it would make Sam open up with regards to his feelings as she felt him to be rather cold and emotionally withdrawn, at first Sam is reluctant and cannot think of anything to write but gradually begins to warm to the idea.

                    This style of presentation helps Elton switch the story telling between the two main characters and provides the opportunity for some delightful comedy moments such as immediately after one character recounts their side of an argument the reader gets to understand the other parties point of view and as with a lot of comedy the humour comes from the total failure to communicate between the two parties and the misunderstandings that follow.

                    Both of the two main characters are a little linear in their qualities, Sam is a middle management drone at the BBC who is faced with a stalling career beset by a number of major cock ups that in themselves are quite funny however it is the spin that he puts on them in an attempt to paper over the cracks that is also very funny as is the fact that no one at the BBC seems to really understand what their job title actually is, including Sam. Elton does a good job of mapping out the desperation of Lucy in her desire to have a baby and this desperation soon becomes an all consuming obsession which at times she seems aware of but as with Sam and his career she also attempts to paper over them providing a justification for her actions at every point possible. In her case the comedy moments spring from her new age friend Drusilla and her strange suggestions for helping with the conception and the fact that although at first always dismissing them Lucy still ends up giving them a try and raising both her and Sam’s hopes in the process.

                    I must say I enjoyed this book, it is not the best piece I have ever read by Elton but then neither is it his worst, there are some very funny moments in the book and there are also some quite touching moments as despite their deep love for each other the obsession with having a baby and the soul searching that takes place when they keep failing drives a wedge into their relationship that threatens their marriage.

                    The book does raise some interesting points about the fertility process as Sam and Lucy go through IVF treatment and there are some easy jokes about masturbation and sex in a public place but there is also a serious side to the book as it explores the desperation that not being able to start a family can cause for those affected and how society places such an expectation on couples to raise a family and adopt the various social norms that define a family in modern society. Certainly I felt a certain amount of pity for the plight of both characters even if both of them have some flaws to their characters, Sam is quite selfish while Lucy is obsessive and judgemental, the storyline also served to highlight the total need for open and honest communication in a relationship and how if neither party is really listening to the other then trouble can raise its head.

                    There is some debate over the ethics of providing treatment on the NHS and this is highlighted by both parties seemingly easy disregarding of their beliefs when it comes to paying for private treatment despite their left leaning political views on the subject.

                    This is a very readable book and I did find it hard to put down, not having chapters made me more inclined to want to read just one more journal entry, the text changes to italics when it is Lucy journal and normal font when it is Sam and with Lucy she is actually writing hers directly to an imaginary friend she had in childhood so the pieces take on a one sided conversational tone with the imaginary being the one to whom Lucy justifies her actions.

                    In summary I found this to be an entertaining and funny read with a good storyline, the ending was a little contrived but also had a nice uplifting feel to it as well and left me closing the book with a smile on my face even though the ending was not one that I saw coming even from a few pages out from the en of the book.

                    Published by Bantam Press I obtained a copy of the hardback version from readitswapit.c.uk as part of a swap and the ISBN is 0-593-04479-7. The paperback is available on Amazon for £5.28 new or from a penny in the new and used section.

                    Thanks for reading and rating my review.

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                      30.05.2002 19:28
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                      • "Not funny"

                      This book is about a BBC guy writing a diary about struggling with infertility, and then writing a screen play about writing a diary about struggling with infertility. Given that Ben Elton himself works for the BBC and has, you've guessed it, been struggling with infertility, this book is basically written about him. This structure of stories within stories (within stories) is the first problem. I am quite prepared to accept clever authorial devices to show different voices - in this case its separate diary entries by the bloke and his wife, which in themselves work quite well. But the mingling of reality (this really was turned into a film and book, whereas in the book the story is only turned into a film) is a little confusing. More than that, its irritating, as you listen to Ben Elton justifying to himself why its OK to tell the world some very intimate things about himself and, more to the point, about his wife. The second problem is that the book is meant to be funny, and it just isn't. Some of Ben Elton's other books have made me laugh out loud. This didn't get more than a small smile all the way through. This is largely because the 'funny bits' are either recycled from his other books (see the rant about traffic and bits of Gridlock) or from his stage shows (the bit about the difficulties of putting a cap in). The few original 'funny bits' tend to be about getting caught in some sort of infertility related embarassing position (sex outdoors features largely) which I just didn't find amusing. These two major flaws ruined the book for me. However, I did finish it, so there must have been some good points. It was, obviously, very well researched and showed that he was knowledgeable about IVF etc. And that in itself was interesting, as I didn't have much idea of what it involved. I didn't guess the ending, which I thought had to be the obvious either she gets pregna
                      nt or she doesn't. This was a pleasant surprise, though perhaps not so good for people who like happy, unambiguous endings. It was well written, in that the individual sentences flowed, and I wasn't brought up short by ridiculous analogies, incomplete plot explanation or any other 'technical' faults. Though the very conscious differences between the male and females voices (as shown in the diary entries) grated a little after a while. I know that men and women think differently, but the way the diary entries were written implied a complete lack of any hope of understanding each other... ever. Maybe he's of the 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' school... Overall, I would only recommend reading Inconceivable if you have a particular interest in infertility, or if you're on a train with nothing else to do (my situation).

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                        03.03.2002 23:08
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                        I must say I love Ben Elton anyway-but i can be critical so dont think I'm being completely biased! This story is about Sam and Lucy a happily married couple both with careers, but Lucy desparatley wants a baby and is often yanking Sam out of work to do the deed so to speak! Sam doesnt seemed to fussed either way-hes too bothered about his job which he hates and trying to write a screenplay but he has no idea where to start. After 5 years of trying for a baby Lucy decides to go to the doctor to get checked out convinced there is something wrong with her. She starts writing a diary (in which the format of this book is printed) saying that it helps her with her feelings and asks Sam to do the same but he has no idea what to write about. They go for various tests which reveal there is nothing wrong with them-and some hilarious lines where Sam has to take a sperm sample to the doctors and they've told him to keep it warm so he puts it down his pants and is walking funny all the way to the doctors! Lucy meanwhile just sits at work daydreaming about babies when one of they're clients Carl Phipps comes in to see what work they have for him (hes an actor) and takes a shine to Lucy and she too finds him very attractive which confuses her. Sam all of a sudden comes up with the great idea of writing a screenplay about their predicament of infertility-listening to what Lucy is saying and writing it all down. When he starts getting writers block however he unwisely looks at Lucy's diary for quotes to help him on his way but ends up stealing all of her thoughts without her knowing. Lucy meanwhile goes home with Carl as she just cant resist him but stops herself from doing anything, convincing herself thats she is happily married and tells Carl this. She goes home and writes all this in her diary which of course Sam sees but can't say a word about it and decides to just bite his tongue. When the director hires Carl Ph
                        ipps to play Sam in the screenplay Sam is infuriated but carries on regardless behind Lucy's back. This book kept me riveted and has many funny lines in it- I wont tell you anymore and ruin it, you'll have to find out for yourselves, it maybe somewhat predictable but nonetheless a great read from Ben Elton

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                          26.10.2001 20:28
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                          Bden Elton's most recent book, Inconceivable is another of his deep and meaningful stories, written as a series of diary extracts from the two characters involved, it is a really interesting read and a format I'm not used to - a welcome change to the usual narrative of a novel. The Plot: --------- Sam and Lucy Bell, two successful people, they both have highly paid jobs (Sam at the BBC and Lucy at an actors agency) and could not be happier in their lives - Except - They want a baby. Lucy has read about a system of writing "Letters to oneself" in order to get in touch with the "inner self", create positive feelings and get into the right frame of mind and body form conception. The "Letters to oneself" are what the book consists of, the tale is picked up with Sam's writing of his feelings towards their having a child and his frustration at having to do such a ridiculous thing as write to himself. This is counterbalanced by Lucy's book, her hopefulness and optimism abounds and the "Leters" are a great refease to her. She gets out all of her frustration and worries, gets involved with the book and lets known her inner despair and fears of being barren, for Lucy the idea of having a kid is central to her life, she has always dreamed ogf it and wants to get pregnant so badly it hurts. The book (without spoiling it too much) follows the course of about 1 year in the lives of this couple, they grow apart and together, through rows over Sam's seeming indifference to the idea of being a father through to the courses of IVF which play a great part in the stressful lives of Sam and Lucy. Affairs are had, betrayals are partaken in and a whole life's worth of ups and downs are encountered in the course of the "letter" writing. Will Lucy and Sam make it? Have a child and be happy? Will their love be enough to counteract the betrayals ansd affairs? I'd recc
                          omend reading the book to find out - sorry! Overall: -------- The book is a great read, a serious topic is handled very sensitively and interestingly, the ups and downs are feel real and you feel very involved with the characters in the book. This book is loosely related to Ben's own experiences with IVF and infertility as he and his wife were trying for a child for a long time. The realism, I think comes from this 1st hand experience of the subject mater, it really grips you and makes you think a lot about the stresses and strains of the life of an infertile couple and gives a humourous spin on a very serious subject. Well worth the price (I got it as a present so I can't pass it on I'm afraid - not allowed to know) I'd reccomend this book very highly as it is both happy and sad in its tales. Very funny and sensitive. The style of writing may not be to everyone's taste but I really liked it - gave the story something just that bit different.

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                            10.10.2001 22:09
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                            I am not a great reader but had had this book recommended to me by several different people and decided to purchase it for my holiday-read! (Along with Bridget Jones' Diary, which I have also written an opinion for!) So I got reading this book as I boarded the plane. As you can probably tell from the cover and title it is about a couple who find that no matter how hard they try they cannot conceive. It is written in diary form with extracts from the two main characters, Lucy and Sam. It is great to see the different aspects and opinions of a male and female on the same situations! I found this book typically male and typically female at the same time, if thats possible anyway! Sometimes I'd read through and laugh as I imagined my own boyfriend coming out with lines that Sam had just spurted, similarly I could imagine myself doing and saying many of the things that Lucy did! I could not put this book down and from the very first page to the very last page it was full of laughs and cries! By the time we came home it had been severely 'thumbed' by every member of my family! It is very realistic and life-like, a situation that is sadly becoming one which many people are finding themselves in or can relate to. I had actually already seen the film Maybe Baby, which is based on the book, Inconceivable but recommend a second viewing after having read the book! Inconceivable is a great book that I would highly recommend to anyone! Happy Reading and I just hope you enjoy it as much as I did, let me know!

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                              10.10.2001 21:46
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                              I really wanted to hate this book. Nik (my fiancé) had borrowed it from the library and had read me out so many apt and hilarious quotes, that I thought I knew most of the book already! Not only does that annoy me, but I also usually find our favourite authors are worlds apart – he loves Bill Bryson, I can’t get into him; he thinks Stephen Fry is an excellent author, I hate his style of writing! It also annoys me when I’m wrong and he’s right! He said Inconceivable by Ben Elton was a really good book and that I would like it. He was right. Damn. The only Ben Elton book I have read was Stark, the first one. It was okay, not great. It didn't make me rush to get his next one though. Recently, I have got into Chick Lit and rarely find myself reading male authors – Terry Pratchett being the exception. But to appease my beloved one, I had a look at Inconceivable. The format initially put me off a bit, as it is written in diary format, the italicised parts being written by Lucy, the other parts by Sam. You get used to this quickly though and it means you can easily find a suitable place to stop reading when you want. This was the novel made into the film Maybe Baby, which I haven’t seen yet. This meant I had no pre-conceptions about the book. I did know the story was about infertility though. It is about a couple – Sam Bell works for the BBC and is desperately trying to gain some inspiration for his writing, Lucy works for an actor’s agency. Knowing that Ben Elton’s own marriage has been a struggle with infertility, this novel must surely have some autobiographical bits in it. I certainly kept seeing Ben in the Sam role, even though Hugh Laurie played him in the film. The best thing about this book is the sharp observation and wit of the writing. There are so many occasions when I read something that could easily have been lifted from
                              my own mouth. The quotes that Nik read out to me were, indeed, very true – uncannily so. But then again, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there! Inconceivable works on many levels – yes, it’s the story of a couple’s fight to conceive a child, but it’s also satirical, a modern social comedy. The BBC is picked apart from the inside, with a kind of critical affection that could only have come from someone in the know. It is definitely an adult book, with themes including sex, masturbation and various invasive medical procedures. My eight year old daughter asked why there was a green tadpole amongst the blue tadpoles on the cover! I didn’t bother to enlighten her! Despite the serious subject matter, it is essentially a comedy and you will laugh out loud regularly. This is easy reading, only 272 pages and can be finished in a few days. I would have liked to have written a review along the lines of ‘Nik was wrong, I hated it’ – but I can’t, because I didn’t. It’s not a wonderful classic, but it is a really enjoyable read – and in this new frightening world situation we are in, a bit of light relief is a must to keep us all sane.

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                                16.08.2001 14:42
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                                This is about a subject which for a few years I thought applied to me - infertility. Inconceivable is about a couple, Sam and Lucy, and their struggle to have a baby. The book is written in the form of the diaries of Sam and Lucy; Sam is doing his reluctantly and feels a bit silly, however Lucy feels it would be beneficial to them both to express their thoughts and feelings. Sam is not at all sure but does his mainly to keep the peace. Lucy and Sam have been trying to have a baby for five years and one month (that's 61 periods observes Lucy, not that she's counting or anything!) They decide to wait two more months before seeking medical help. The first step is a blood test for Lucy to check her hormone levels, and a sperm test for Sam, which fills him with horror. He doesn't relish the idea of producing a sample on demand! After he does the deed, Sam has to keep it warm and get it to the clinic as soon as possible, so tries to get a taxi with the little pot safely in his underpants. He has a row with another man over who should have the taxi first, and wins by saying that if he doesn't have it his sperm will die. The man backs off! The results of the tests are normal, and the next step is something ominously called a "post coital test". I'd forgotten all about this one, but while reading this the memories came flooding back! Sam and Lucy have to have sex, then Lucy has to go straight to the clinic (without washing) so the doctor can take a swab, as sometimes a woman's body can kill off what it sees as hostile sperm. Oh, the delights of trying to have a baby! While all these tests are going on, Sam is plodding along with his job at the BBC. He's not really sure what his job is, let alone whether it has a title, but it's something to do with promoting new comedy acts. Whatever it is, it involves a lot of lunches. Sam has long since harboured the desire to write a film scrip
                                t, and when Lucy embarks on a course of IVF, he decides to turn their story into a movie. He doesn't tell Lucy, as she says that if he ever reveals their intimate details to anyone, she'll leave him..... So how does the story end? Is a baby the happy outcome? Read it for yourself and see, it's excellent. Although I wanted to read Inconceivable because of its subject, I wasn't sure if I'd like Ben Elton's writing style (I thought he was awful as a stand up comic years ago). I have to say though that he's done a brilliant job, its a delicate subject which he writes about both sensitively and amusingly. When writing Lucy's diary entries, I feel they could have been written by a woman. I mean that as the highest compliment. Ben and his wife have first-hand experience of IVF, being the parents of twins, so he is something of an expert. A great read. P.S. My own story ended happily, after many tests and a couple of ops, I conceived naturally after waiting to start IVF!

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