The End of Miracles: A Novel

The End of Miracles: A Novel

by Monica Starkman

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International Book Awards 2016 finalist for literary fiction
The End of Miracles is a twisting, haunting story about the drastic consequences of a frustrated obsession.
A woman with a complex past wants nothing more than to become a mother, but struggles with infertility and miscarriage. She is temporarily comforted by a wish-fulfilling false pregnancy, but when reality inevitably dashes that fantasy, she falls into a depression so deep she must be hospitalized. The sometimes-turbulent environment of the psychiatry unit rattles her and makes her fear for her sanity, and she flees. Outside, she impulsively commits a startling act with harrowing consequences for herself and others.
This emotionally gripping novel is a suspenseful journey across the blurred boundaries between sanity and madness, depression and healing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631520556
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 180,919
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Dr. Monica Starkman is a psychiatrist who is a faculty member of the University of Michigan Medical School Department of Psychiatry in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is a clinician and a scientific researcher. Many of her publications in the scientific literature highlight concerns and conditions of women, such as the first study of women’s reactions to the use of fetal monitoring during labor. She has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a recognized expert on the effects of stress hormones on mood and on brain structure. Dr. Starkman has also published in The New Republic and Vogue magazine. Dr. Starkman writes regularly for Psychology Today as one of their Experts.

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The End of Miracles 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite The End of Miracles by Monica Starkman is a novel about a woman’s battle with depression following the loss of a child. Margo has longed for a child, but infertility leaves her with little hope, until she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Overjoyed, she and her husband, Steven, eagerly await the arrival of their child. However, when Margo goes into premature labor, the subsequent recovery sends her in a downward spiral into severe depression, leading her to do the unthinkable. Upon beginning this novel, I knew it would be a difficult subject to read. So many women suffer from fertility issues, and for some, this results in endless strings of miscarriages and heartache, not just for them, but for their families as well. Even more heartbreaking was Margo’s rational sense of what was going on, but her inability to control her actions. While I enjoyed the overall message conveyed in the story, I was a bit confused by the change from past to present tense in the second half of the novel. I almost felt a bit bombarded by medical terminology as well as psychiatric terms. I feel that while this might be beneficial as a note at the end of the novel, it drew away from the overall emotions of Margo as a character. However, I did feel that The End of Miracles by Monica Starkman has a powerful message about mental health and raised an awareness that it’s important to have readily accessible help for those in need of it, as well as shedding light on what might be considered a taboo subject. There was some great description and, overall, I did enjoy this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We read stories to explore new worlds and this story gives great insight for someone unfamiliar with the infertility world. From the opening of the book, I felt as if I were in the hands of someone writing with authority about the psychological aspects of infertility, the emotional devastation of miscarriage and stillbirth, and how numbing grief can be.
Colette More than 1 year ago
The End of Miracles is a spellbinding fast-paced read—a beautifully written debut novel. Particularly so for those interested in mind-body connections. As someone who suffered unrelieved grief for years over the death of my young mother in childbirth, I identified with Margo, with the hidden damage done by the death of her beloved father. No child should ever have to grieve the death of a loved one alone. If left to one’s own devices, the mind can play deadly tricks on the body. And vice-versa. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How much is a woman’s identity caught up in the desire for motherhood? What are the emotional consequences of not being able to have a child of one’s own? Monica Starkman has written a masterful portrayal of a woman with a complicated and traumatic past who falls victim to a little-spoken-of psychological and physical phenomenon after her first pregnancy ends in stillbirth. The novel is enriched by the perspective of a writer with many years of experience as a psychiatrist, and it builds in emotional power. Starkman’s talent as a writer makes us intimately aware of Margo Kerber’s hopes and despair. The novel shows us how Margo enters her grief and succumbs to it, propelling her towards a startling act and painful reckoning. Her life unravels, despite the strength of her marriage, her meaningful role as a surrogate parent to a mentally ill child, and the continuing support of a deep friendship. Told with accuracy and compassion, it takes you down a path that is both shocking and, perhaps, inevitable.
cspom More than 1 year ago
Monica Starkman's beautifully-written and perfectly-paced debut novel should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good read and especially to those with an interest in mental health issues. The central character, Margo, has a strong marriage, a supportive husband, and a satisfying career, but without the child she longs for her life seems incomplete. When an almost miraculous pregnancy ends in a hopelessly premature delivery, Margo's life goes seriously off the rails. The author is a prominent psychiatrist and her descriptions of Margo's overwhelming grief, her descent into depression, her treatment, her truly shocking crisis, and her eventual recovery and redemption have the ring of truth. I warmly recommend this book and hope to see more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starkman is psychologically astute and clinically accurate. Her writing is lyrical. Consider the book’s opening sentences. "The dream was always the same—a flood of babies dribbling out of her mouth, dozens, tumbling head over heels. It was like coming up from the sea sputtering a mouthful of water, salty and alive with life forms. The dream was not frightening, not even unpleasant, but today Margo didn’t want to linger with it, with the strange images, the faint sensation on her lips and tongue. Better to get up, move about, dispel all traces of it. She opened her eyes, and the babies flickered and faded as they disintegrated into the room’s darkness." The story that follows that dream is gripping. It unfolds in ways that are vividly cinematic. Margo, the story’s protagonist, is desperate to conceive a child. Disappointed, she rents a cheap hotel room and heads to the shopping center, where she finds herself beside a woman pushing a baby carriage. What follows is shocking. The hitherto upstanding, courteous, conventional, law-abiding Margo begins to spiral downward through a legal and psychotic tunnel that defies reason—but not logic. Desperately unhappy, she takes desperate measures to restore hope—and mental balance. Rather than spoil the book’s delicious suspense, I will include no more details. Suffice it to say that Margo and her husband are restored to each other and to civilization as they knew it. She learns to live with new expectations. All is not well, exactly, but life becomes bearable. The sun may even shine again. It’s rare that I give a book five stars. The five-star category belongs to such writers as Ian McEwan, Philip Roth, Anne Tyler, Tillie Olsen, Oliver Sacks. I give few books four stars, but this one is in that category.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The psychological journey of Margo Kerber, in Monica Starkman’s The End of Miracles is the nightmare of anyone who has endured the torturous path of infertility. Starkman says it best herself: “This is the story of a woman who unravels psychologically after harrowing infertility and miscarriage, the drastic choices she makes, and the doctors and close ones who try to save her.” Yes, and…. It is a deliberate clinical presentation married to a spare but poignant prose style that takes full advantage of Dr. Starkman’s expertise as a psychiatrist, and her obvious chops as a literary person. Whether reading as an objective observer, or one intimately familiar with the territory, The End of Miracles will fascinate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The End of Miracles This dramatic, psychological thriller by Monica Starkman left me deeply confused - NOT about the book but about myself! I always thought I knew right from wrong. As I read this beautifully written novel I was simply enjoying the graphic details, the ups and down of a mid-level administrator, and the heart-tugging storyline. When the dramatic saga unfolded I thought I knew what the outcome would be. When it was frighteningly different from what was anticipated, I struggled to understand where 'I' had gone wrong in my thinking! Should Margo have been more severely punished for her act? Should she have been more deeply pitied? Am I so judgmental? What on earth happened to this intelligent, healthy, happily married young woman? Why did her husband stay with her? The sudden deterioration in her mental health shocked me. Or was it so sudden? But not on the second spite of modern medicine, failure to conceive became a slow, lonely, emotionally painful process. Her body had failed her. And then her mind.