Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baby Proof- Emily Giffin, A Book Review

As I said in my last post about Elle and Blair Fowler’s book “Beneath the Glitter”, I recently finished studying and taking the last section of the CPA Exam. (Still keeping my fingers crossed that I passed). When I was done- I was looking for a good book to read. I had a few on my kindle, and several that I’d purchased over the last year- but none were calling to me. A lot of girls I know have announced pregnancies, or had babies lately, and so babies had been on my mind. I’d read an Emily Giffin book before, and thought it was pretty good, and so when I saw “Baby Proof” at Target 25% off in the mass-produced paperback and was able to snag it for under $5, I thought I’d pick it up. 

I read the book in under 24 hours, it wasn’t long, about 364 pages with probably a size 10 font on those small pages, so the book moved pretty quickly. After reading a second book by Emily Giffin, I’ve decided this. She is an author of women’s literature; however, she is not a fluffy ‘chick-lit’ kind of gal. She writes books that dig a little deeper below the surface, and are not that light, fun, fluffy, light-hearted beach read. Her books, at least for me, make me think about life decisions. The first one I read was “Love the One Your With” so keep that in mind, I haven’t read Something Burrowed, or Something Blue- which I think might be more in the traditional genre of chick-lit.

Warning: This review will contain some “spoilers” but to be honest, I would have read the book even if I’d read my own review. 

In summary “Baby Proof” is about a 33-35 year old woman, Claudia, who has never wanted children. She meets her “soul mate” Ben, and the two build their relationship around the idea that all they want from life is each other. Meanwhile, their “couple best friends”, who originally didn’t want children, end up getting pregnant. This ends up causing Claudia’s first husband to question their decision not to have children. To make a long story short, they get a divorce because Claudia is unwilling to compromise on her decision. Eventually Claudia moves on to an older man, who is ‘perfect for her’ by the book definition, but she finds herself deciding that inexplicably she just doesn’t “love him” enough to be with him. Claudia ends up deciding that for Ben, she could have a baby, because he is her soul mate. By the end of the book the two are back together. 

While I could give the writing and the story line of this book a “three-star” review, I have some serious problems with the story. 

First of all, Claudia is so strong in her conviction that she doesn’t want children. She ends her marriage practically without any hesitation over the fact that she will never change her mind on the matter. Honestly, it was probably the fastest divorce I’ve ever read. And then Emily Giffin has the character 300 pages later, deciding that because she loves her ex-husband so much, and no other man could possibly complete her as much- so sure, she can have his baby. What? I feel like that sends a horrible message. Sure, the protagonist in this story is a “strong” “successful” female, but the message that gives me seems like something out of the 1920s. Sure it’s masked in the idea that she’ll do anything for “love” but it seems backwards.

Second of all, the main character ends up living with her best friend. Her best friend is a 30 something in a delusional relationship with a married man who lives out-of-town. You get the impression that this relationship has been somewhat lengthy and at one point this character attempts to get herself pregnant to get the married man to leave his wife. It doesn’t end up working out, but the fact that when this happens, Claudia just ‘goes with it’ really bothers me. If my best friend did that I couldn’t sit there and blindly let her think that it was okay. I would have to make her see the light of day, and I can’t see why this didn’t happen.

Finally, the ending to this story made it feel like of like a pointless read. In the end Claudia is back with her husband, on the pretense that she can have a baby with him, but they’re not actively discussing it at the end of the book. They are just happy to be back together again. I just feel kind of cheated by that; I feel like I spent an entire day reading a book to get a “just kidding we’re fine”. 

What were your thoughts? Have you read this book? Do you plan to read this book? If you don’t, what do you think of what you’ve read of the book in my review? I’m just interested on everyone else’s thoughts on this book.

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