Should the joy of a family to raise be as easy to obtain as a common unwanted pet? Why are there not more single parents who are fathers instead of mothers? After a collection of failed romantic relationships, Tristan in The Surrogate begins to fear that he will never find a woman to settle down with. As a man who finds himself comfortable in his bachelor life, this is no problem! At least it isn’t one until he finds himself becoming attracted to the idea of becoming a father.
Tristan’s friends all find the notion of their carefree single friend suddenly wanting a family to be something of a joke. Either some form of cynical self amusement or nothing more than fabrications designed to lure in unsuspecting women for a one or two night stand. When he actually goes so far as to hire a woman to get pregnant and have a child for him, nobody will believe it. Well almost no one. Marie McDonald, the hired surrogate mother insists that he respect her and treat their relations as nothing more than standard business.
Now at first, when reading this, I found the whole idea as somewhat ludicrous. The initial descriptions of Tristan, and the opinions that he states, almost make him seem to be nothing more than a shallow, self-centered, waste of a man. But as the story goes on, as we see how he reacts to others (and they to him); we start to gain a clearer understanding of how this deep thoughtful individual is reacting in the only way he can, to try escaping ways the whole world seems to be out to get him.
The characters within this book are gently brought to life until I wasn’t even aware of the exact moment when they stopped seeming to be something like cardboard caricatures. By the end of the book they had all come to be real people. I caught myself surprised by my own relief when a character I hadn’t even realized I was I was attached to was able to escape a bad situation.
This unusual relationship between expectant father Tristan and surrogate mother Marie develops on more levels than seems likely or possible while remaining just about platonic. So close the two of them are pushed together, it’s almost painful how far they hold themselves apart. As Tristan struggles to remain respected in his professional world, he can’t escape the need he finds to do what he sees as the right thing for Marie and her other young child.