Aug 6, 2008

Baby Proof. Not Bulletproof



Emily Giffin's Baby Proof chronicles the struggles of one woman, Claudia Parr, who decides that she never wants to have children and how it impacts her relationships with her family, her friends, and her love life. I picked up this book as part of the Irresistible Review Challenge, and it is my last book to complete the challenge. I chose this book because it has gotten mixed reviews from some fellow book bloggers. I first saw this at the Written Word and her review was unfavorable, and a review from This Redhead Reads was equally unfavorable. I have not seen any positive reviews of the book, but that rarely turns me off from reading books that I believe to have an interesting premise.

Claudia Parr does not want children, and this decision impacts her relationships. She has taken the view on life that marriage and children are interlinked because when she meets a man, they automatically write her off because she does not want children. Then she meets Ben, her soul mate, and they both want the same childless life...or so she thinks. I'm not telling you anything you won't find out from the book jacket.

***Spoiler Alert***

Ben and Claudia get married and travel spontaneously until their good friends get pregnant, and Ben changes his mind, decides he wants kids, and that Claudia should want them too. She does not feel the same way and is angry with him for breaking their deal, and she leaves their shared apartment to move back in with her friend. Soon she and her husband are engaged in divorce proceedings, and there is little discussion between the two about children, their marriage, or wanting to salvage their relationship, despite the fact that they believe they are soul mates.

Meanwhile, you learn that her mother left her and her sisters with their father...and that she is not very maternal. Claudia is more like her mother than she wishes to admit. Unfortunately, the problems grow worse as Daphne, her sister who is unable to become pregnant, asks Claudia to donate her eggs, and her other sister Maura continues to struggle with her unfaithful husband and being the perfect suburban mom.

***End Spoiler***

This book could have lost some weight, maybe about 100 pages or so. I wanted to skip through some large sections of the book, but held back from doing so.

The resolution of this book is unsatisfying. Claudia has done little to change her behavior and how she reacts to obstacles. While her conclusion about her relationships with her sisters and her ex-husband may be satisfactory under traditional societal norms, many of those women that determine they do not want children may be angered by the ending. I, on the other hand, am not angered by the ending so much as the lack of consistency in the character and Claudia's inability to understand herself and really examine her identity in depth before making life altering decisions. Her indecision and in ability to engage in introspection, especially when it comes to her marriage, is mind boggling to me. I have not read any other Emily Giffin books, and this is probably not the one I should have started with. Other bloggers and friends have said that they love Giffin's books.

Also Reviewed Here:
Book Escape

7 comments:

Anna said...

Hmm...I'll be starting this one soon. I try not to let reviews put me off from reading something. We'll have to discuss it when I'm through.

Marg said...

I have picked this up a couple of times. I have read the two earlier books she wrote and I liked one and didn't really like the other. I will get to this one eventually.

nbbaker1102 said...

I read Babyproof and I actually liked it. I agree that Claudia was not the most insightful person around, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the novel. I reveiwed it here:

http://nbbaker1102.wordpress.com/2008/06/19/book-club-pick-baby-proof-by-emily-giffin/

Serena said...

This book is odd. I read it through, but Claudia was not worth the read for me. I would rather have read more about her other sisters or had more background about Ben to flesh out his reactions...etc.

Serena said...

I've added your link. Yours was the other review I read but could not find when I did my post. There have been mixed reviews from a number of sites about this book.

Stephanie said...

Maybe your right, this might not be the best book to start with, although after disliking it so much I probably won't be picking up another Giffin book anytime soon!

Serena said...

Stephanie: I feel the same way you do. If I do pick up another of her books, it will be a long time in the future when the memory of this one has faded!