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  • Writer's pictureRalph M. Tsong

Book Review: The Bump by Sidney Karger

Released on May 21, 2024, The Bump by Sidney Karger follows the adventures of Wyatt Wallace and Biz Petterelli about five weeks before the expected due date of their surrogate. The New Yorkers decide to take a cross-country babymoon with their dog for their surrogate’s delivery in California for one last adventure and address relationship issues before parenthood. Along the way, unexpected detours open old wounds and secrets, challenging them to rethink the meaning of family as they prepare for their baby’s arrival. This novel shows some of the funny, reflective, and challenging moments a couple may have on their road to becoming a parent through egg donation and surrogacy. 

 

We interviewed our former client Sidney Karger about his book: 


Exclusive Interview with Sidney Karger:  

the bump

#1) Can you describe your journey to becoming a published author? 


S: “I had always wanted to be a writer when I was a little kid... When I was 12, I sat down and wrote a book which was a terrible version of Choose Your Own Adventure books. I got encouragement from friends and family to keep writing and then I fell in love with movies. Out of college I started writing screenplays and once I realized people actually write movies. I'm like, ‘I'll be a screenwriter.’ I started writing screenplays and reading them for studios and production companies. Then around after that time, I got a job as a writer director at Comedy Central and was sort of writing and directing for their shows in-house creatively. I became a working screenwriter and left Comedy Central. Sort of that old saying of preparation and opportunity equals luck, I was introduced to my now book agent...I've been collecting ideas through the years and always thought I would write a book, way later in life when I turned 80 or something...I pitched him some ideas and that was my last book that came out last year called Best Men and it's a romantic comedy and I sold that as a two book deal.”  

 

#2) How much research was involved in writing your book on surrogacy and egg donation? And how much was it was prior knowledge? 


S: “My partner and I just started talking about surrogacy years ago and then some friends of ours started having babies that way and through adoption. We learned through osmosis what they were doing and there was a time when we started taking it seriously. As everyone knows, surrogacy and adoption are so complicated and overwhelming. There are so many ways you can collect that information. The book deals with the emotional aspects of whether you're having a baby the traditional way, through surrogacy, IVF, or adoption. I was taking notes from friends and even our parents. You can detect the differences between couples, like the disciplinarian one and the one who is a little more laid back.” 

 

#3) The book portrays Wyatt with a type A personality and loves planning while his partner Biz is more laid back and goes with the flow. Who do you think you identify more with? 


S: It interesting, I think I'm probably a little of both. I like to plan and be spontaneous and a little more laid back, but I can be indecisive. The characters are drawn out of people that I know, people I've met, or people I've eavesdropped on in a restaurant. There's a lot of stuff that I draw upon that I've experienced but then put into a different type of scenario with different characters so I can tap into the same emotion I felt. The characters become sort of like heightened versions of parts of my personality and people I know. I don't necessarily gravitate towards one of the other, they're both kind of close to my heart. 

 

#4) Wyatt and Biz are experiencing a bump in the relationship and doubts of becoming parents. If you could have a conversation with them. What advice would you give them? 


S: “I would wait until their journey is over and I would say, there's a big lack of communication between the two of them. I would encourage them to talk things out a little more and hash things out. They can figure out why one of them is this way and the other one was that way. Within the book, one starts out super organized and kind of wants to have an itinerary and the other ones afraid of having a baby and wants to play it a little looser. I don't want to give a spoiler away, but it changes in the end. My advice would be to communicate more...with age comes a little more wisdom. I would say to them don't make everything so dramatic and you'll get through this.” 

 

#5) Wyatt and Biz have two very different families. What type of family do you personally envision for your future? 


S: “Hopefully a little of both, I love that idea. I came from a big family, but my siblings were older. When they moved out of the house, I was kind of alone with my parents. I got the best of both worlds, and I would love that for my future family. Just the idea of having a big family but then the quiet time you can share. Everyone does their own thing and then you kind of come back together. I love that sort of spectrum of loud and quiet. You rebel against what you grew up with and want the opposite sometimes, but then you realize you want to get back to your roots. I think having that balance is good.” 

 

#6) Without too many spoilers, what scene was the hardest for you to write? 


S: “Generally the hardest scenes to write were in the car because I really wanted to make sure that you are with these characters along their “journey.” I wanted the reader to experience being in the car with them, but that could be boring. Those were the hardest scenes and I tapped into road trips that I've taken, long drives, listening to music, coming up with games, calling people on the phone on speaker. Trying to keep the story moving while they're in the car was really a challenge because again, I just wanted you to feel like you're on this road trip with them.  


Legal and Realistic Aspects:   

As usual for our reviews, we look into whether the story is realistic from a legal and factual standpoint. 


Karger shares the process of Wyatt and Biz selecting an egg donor and over a year later, anticipating the birth of their child. The story opens with them going through many profiles of egg donors and reading their descriptions. This is very accurate for families who search for donors through agencies that have online profiles and descriptions of available donors. They compile a board of possible donors by considering their family history, biography, and interests. Wyatt and Biz spent over eight months trying to select a donor. After agreeing on an egg donor, they contact the agency to confirm if the donor is available.  


Although the story does not follow the process of Wyatt and Biz selecting their surrogate, we are introduced to Flora when she FaceTimes them during their trip to give medical updates. Surrogacy contracts will often disclose that the surrogate must contact the intended parents and provide updates of doctors visits and allow their attendance in person. These tend to be minimums and intended parents can have more contact than what is in the contract.  Flora does a great job of keeping in contact with the couple and forms a close bond with them. She shares continues to follow up with more calls throughout the novel.  


Wyatt and Biz witness the birth of their child in the hospital room beside Flora. The hospital staff are aware of the surrogacy matter once they arrive at the hospital. They are quickly let into the delivery room, most likely because the hospital was given a hospital letter and the court judgment prior to the birth (also known as a PBO). Before the birth of the child, your attorney should inform the surrogate’s hospital of choice of the matter and provide all the necessary paperwork so the intended parents can safely leave the hospital with their child and have their names on the birth certificate. There are no legal hiccups or concerns in the novel, which indicates the legal part was well-handled. 


Spoiler alert:  


We learn of a second journey for Wyatt and Biz using the same egg donor and surrogate. This is a possibility for intended parents who want to embark on a second journey after their first successful one. Many intended parents with good experiences opt to use the same egg donor and surrogate because they wish to have a sibling journey, and already have a close bond from the first journey and know what to expect. We can only wonder if Wyatt and Biz used the same lawyers for their second journey.  

 

Conclusion: 

In conclusion, The Bump by Sidney Karger is a breezy summer read that on a seldom explored topic of fiction, the journey to parenthood through surrogacy and egg donation, and how a couple processes their transition. Karger’s narrative is humorous but also deep, and the reader really feels dropped into the perspective of being on the edge of unknown when starting a family through third party reproduction. 

We know the feeling is universal for new intended parents. If you choose the right lawyer, at least you won't have to worry about the legal aspects of your journey. If you need a lawyer for surrogacy and egg donation, contact us now.  

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