The Underachieving Ovary

Narrated by: Jennifer Swanepoel
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Will there be light at the end of the birth canal?

Does the word endometriosis make you want to stick a fork in your eye? No?

Then perhaps this book isn't for you. It's funny, and (sometimes alarmingly) frank. It contains an impressive array of synonyms for vagina and it's certainly NSFW.

It's about having a devil womb and a hot knife lodged in a shoulder. It's about becoming blackly bitter and twisted in infertility, and then slowly finding a way to untwist.

It's part memoir, part dark comedy, wrapped up loosely as a journal full of TMI and quirk.

Let me put it this way: If Helen Fielding and Marian Keyes were to go through IVF, and use Caitlin Moran as a surrogate, this book would be their baby.

The Underachieving Ovary is an honest and satisfying must-hear for anyone battling endometriosis or infertility. Start listening to it today.

©2016 Janita Lawrence (P)2018 Janita Lawrence

What listeners say about The Underachieving Ovary

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The Gynecology Chronicles

Would you consider the audio edition of The Underachieving Ovary to be better than the print version?

Have only heard the Audio edition.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Underachieving Ovary?

The feeling of Anticipation on the Authors honeymoon.

What does Jennifer Swanepoel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A quirky sarcasm that fits the story.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

Every problem has its unique solution.

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

33 people found this helpful

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Dark, witty, funny, brilliant memoir

I loved this book. The dark humour and wit combined with raw honesty bring this memoir to life. Joan Swanepoel does an excellent job in her reading of The Underachieving Ovary, tackling South African (Afrikaans) words and phrases flawlessly as she performs with zest and connects with the story she is narrating in a way that is anything but detached.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Buy it. Listen to it. Now.

4 people found this helpful

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Real and Raw. Touching Story of Infertility.

Would you listen to The Underachieving Ovary again? Why?

Yes, it authentically describes the journey from trying to conceive to IVF and all the emotional steps inbetween. It is real and raw and inspiring. The story is based on her diary and is very disjointed in the beginning. Hang in there because it gets good (and begins to flow) after the first 18 chapters. All women should listen to this book so they can realize what a miracle conception is, especially young women. The doctor informs this author that at 31 years of age, she has waited too long. I sincerely wish women knew this.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The author and narrator work together to capture the author's journey. She describes how she is pulled into the next medical intervention like an addict is pulled into consuming more and more drugs. She captures the emotional experience and the medical reality of endometriosis, pain managment, IUI, and IVF. She describes how these procedures affect her relationships with her husband, friends and family.

Have you listened to any of Jennifer Swanepoel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, this is my first story by Jennifer Swanepoel. She is a good narrator. She captures the author's voice adequately.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It does both. The author takes you along on her poignantl medical quest to get pregnant. The story captures the ridiculousness of the various situations the author finds herself in. She struggles to find meaning in the suffering. The end of the book is very strong as the author finds the answers to her questions. It is a very satisfying well-written ending.

Any additional comments?

I received a free review copy of this audiobook and I have voluntarily left this review.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved!!!!

Anyone that is battling infertility this is your book!! This book is very touching and makes you know that with persistence your dream of getting pregnant can come true.

3 people found this helpful

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Heartbreaking but funny and happy too

I think I went through every emotion I have while listening to this book. It's a touching story of the incredible need to have a child and the pain of not being able to become pregnant. A moving account of all they had to go through to become parents. For any female who has had to become totally exposed to doctors and professionals for the sake of their health can certainly relate to this book too. With a great sense of humor, the author takes us through her journey to become a mother. The narration is fabulous too! I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it!

3 people found this helpful

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How can something be adorable and heartbreaking?

Oh yeah, and funny too!
Narration was spot on in a very realistic journey into the attempt to procreate.
My favorite thing about this story was how she managed to keep a sense of humor during a tough time in a woman's life.
A privilege to listen.
 “I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review." 

3 people found this helpful

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A truthful look at infertility

I looked this audiobook and the narration was spot on. I felt as is the narrator was actually living the author's life and going through the infertility treatments herself. This book is a very candid look at infertility and it's ups and downs. As someone who has battled and overcome (if you ever truly "overcome" IF) this is a book that hit very close to home. Listening to this story I found myself wanting to reach out and hug the author many times and agreeing with what she was writing. Some of the experiences were different from my own but so relatable as it's a community that IF touches and we all can relate to the pain. It's so poignant and touching and her candor, humor and honesty was refreshing. I would recommend this to people both who have experienced or know someone who is going through IF.

I received this audio book for free in exchange for my honest review.

2 people found this helpful

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The Underachieving Ovary

A brutally honest look at dealing with infertility. A topic so heartbreaking, yet the story is told with an abundance of humor. Definitely NSFW or younger ears, but I loved it.

Jennifer Swanepoel narrated with the perfect amount of emotion and her timing was impeccable.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

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A blurry mess of emotions!

This book is a twist and turn of emotions! From the beginning I was brought right along with the ugly ride that is endometriosis and infertility. The hope and the despair. It was done with such wit and sarcasm that it wasn't a whiny tale, which would have been so easy to turn into. Her journal of infertility is such an emotional and personal journey, that I feel like I'm a friend of JT Lawrence and she's kept me updated all along. The book was more like getting letters of updates than something that was written for public consumption. I found myself rooting for Her and Mike so much that every heartbreak and setback they encountered, I was in my car crying right along with them. Sometimes the road to parenthood is rocky. Sometimes easy. Sometimes it never makes it there. I am in love with JT's sense of humor. I so wish she could be my friend!

This is the first audiobook I've listened to narrated by Jennifer Swanpoel. I am a new fan! I have such a hard time with female narrators, because I feel like they are over produced and robotic. This is so not the case with Jennifer! She truly made it sound as if she WAS JT reading her journal. She had such emotion, like she was feeling it herself! I really really enjoyed her narration, and I will definitely be looking into other audio narrated by her!

2 people found this helpful

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Great Read

The Underachieving Ovary by J.T. Lawrence was a great read. This story follows a woman with endometriosis and infertility. As someone who struggles as well this story hits home. It is a great and real account of a couples struggles and desire to get pregnant. I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more by J.T. Lawrence.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MeDi
  • 04-15-18

The Underachieving ovary

This book is, a journey. It is real, and raw, and remarkable, with laugh out loud moments. Then there are those moments when you have to swallow the lump in your throat and go play with your kids, just because you can.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ostfeld
  • 01-18-19

I knew it !

I’ve always suspected that the author JT Lawrence is a Documentary writer which is the hardest thing to do if you want to make it interesting and amusing at the same time, it’s practically impossible unless you have the talent for it and JT sure does like no others !
I’ve also learned so much about the culture of South Africa from her after Mandela, Sixto Rodriguez ( Sugar man- Silver color ships an American singer from Detroit which no American have heard about and I should know growing up in the United States) and now JT Lawrence completing my S.Africa education.
About the book: I was very relentless about getting it, the name itself tells you that it’s a chick flick and I’m not a female but after listening to so many of JT’s audiobooks I felt that I knew her well enough that even if it is a chick flick it will still go both ways and I was right, even as a married man I totally enjoyed the book and connected to so much, even things that I’ve never realized so with all my heart I thank you!
Excellent choice of narration by Jennifer Swanepoel.

PS: Congratulations !

Fully recommend this book for all.




In exchange for an honest review I’ve received this audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TerryHeth
  • 12-09-18

Wow loved this up & down & up tale of life

So many feelings. I laughed, I felt like crying, was at work so didn’t!
It brought memories back of sadness & waiting & disappointments but it brought back the happiness & the relief too. Personally my story wasn’t this poignant but it was enough for me.
This author brings everything to life from a dramatic internal point of view so you feel the journey & are holding your breath each step & you feel the noooo moments along with her & her hubby.
Though, you get the laughs & funny times too & so many words for a certain female anatomy I laughed every time a new one to me came up.
Loved this so much.
The narrator was great, actually felt like a pal was telling me her testify she was that good.
Thanks for this amazing share

1 person found this helpful

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  • Taryn Kokkinn
  • 11-19-18

A cathartic listen that draws you in

What I love about this author is her uncanny ability to get under my skin either with a much-needed self-realisation or a personal link that draws me in and makes me feel like she somehow has a little window into my life. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we are around the same age and live in the same city, but it’s also testament to her amazing storytelling ability.
On first listening I was a bit taken aback by the American accent, as I assumed the narrator would be South African. But soon I settled into the story of Nits and Mike and I didn’t look back. To be a part of such a personal journey felt like a privilege and I laughed and cried along the way, as I imagine did most listeners. I walked away feeling richer, with a lot more respect for the process and what couples trying to fall pregnant actually go through. A cathartic listen that enriched my daily commute and gave me much to think about, long after it finished.

1 person found this helpful

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  • kimstories
  • 09-18-18

Emotional roller-coaster of laughter and tears

Loved this audio book! The story is moving and emotionally raw and will suck you in immediately. You will be cheering Lawrence on in her journey with fertility, even if you think its not something that would interest you.
The narrator is wonderful. It felt like a friend was chatting to me, sharing her life.
All round a wonderful production

1 person found this helpful

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  • Karen
  • 05-15-18

Funny and touching

I think all women that have had trouble conceiving, whether through endometriosis or any other reason can relate to this story.

You can really emerge yourself in this book, and experience the heartache, dispair, anger and joy along with the author

I was given this review in exchange for an honest review

1 person found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 04-28-18

No kittens to be found.

All of her life, the author had loved babies and wanted one of her very own. So after seven years in a stable, loving relationship, it seemed natural that she and her partner should decide that it was time for her deepest wish to come true. This is the story of her journey to fulfillment.

Read the other reviews. Each one expresses, probably far better than I can, the sheer excellence of the writing, in short, snappy chapters, the humour and determination with which Ms.Lawrence faced the difficulties as each new problem, and pain, arose. As someone who had the opposite problem (just think sex and I was pregnant despite multiple 'barriers'), my heart went out to this oh so courageous woman. A book that should be read by everyone, men as well as women ( though they will, no doubt, squirm at the mention of the female 'bits').

But don't expect doom and gloom. At times hilariously funny, this book is a textbook journal of how to write intimately about both the body and human needs and is read with clarity and humour by narrator, Jennifer Swanepoel. It is simply marvellous

1 person found this helpful

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  • JS748
  • 04-17-18

A lovely account of infertility with happy ending

This is a beautiful story of a woman who struggled with infertility for 3 years which turns into a beautiful story of life. beautifully told and breathtakingly heart breaking at times but told so well x loved it

1 person found this helpful

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  • Myztikal
  • 03-29-18

Laugh at yourself, and the world laughs with you

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this to all of my female friends, every female out there, and any guy who has ever run to the store and bought tampons for a woman in their life.

What about Jennifer Swanepoel’s performance did you like?

She provided “permission” to laugh at a somewhat touchy, intimate subject. I think Ms Lawrence was blessed to have this narrator bring her personal story to light.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several parts of the story evoked emotions. Frustrations, laughter, shock, joy. This talented author was able to share her hard journey with sarcasm and determination towards a dream. It’s so eloquently told and shared that had the book description not indicated it was partially a memoir, I would not have guessed.

Any additional comments?

I have highly recommended books in the past, but only once before had I felt like buying the book and gifting it to everyone I knew.
In this case, I would gift it to everyone I didn’t know, just because it’s that damn good. Guys have their guys’ humor. This is sweet yet raw girls’ humor, but not in a raunchy way. Guys have always talked about their body parts and body fluids. But, boy, does this trump it all with real facts and jokes!
This is a MUST HAVE and MUST LISTEN TO AGAIN audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patreesha
  • 03-21-18

This is just THE best book

I started listening to this book last night and I have finished it at 11:19 this morning. I have loved every word in this book.

I will, no doubt, listen to this again. It has taken me out of my doldrums at least for a little while. It made me remember how happy I was when I gave birth to each of my children.

I didn’t have infertility pr, in fact quite the opposite . We decided to have number 3 on a Saturday night. Sunday morning changed my mind. Too late but I have my James - great name by the way, and he has grown up to be every mothers dream.

Loved loved loved this book. Need to listen to more of this writers books NOW!

1 person found this helpful