Review: Babyville by Jane Green

Title: Babyville
Author: Jane Green
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Broadway
Format: paperback
Rating: 3/5
Read for: 2011 Chick-Lit Challenge

Meet Julia, a wildly successful television producer who appears to have the picture-perfect life. But beneath the surface, things are not as perfect as they seem. Stuck in a loveless relationship with her boyfriend, Mark, Julia thinks a baby is the answer . . . but she may want a baby more than she wants her boyfriend. Will a trip to New York City with a jet-setting friend—and all the glittering energy and eligible men the city brings—help her discover what she really needs?
Maeve, on the other hand, is allergic to commitment. A feisty, red-haired, high-power career girl, she cherishes her ability to do just as she pleases and breaks out in a rash every time she passes a stroller. But when her no-strings-attached nightlife leads to an unexpected pregnancy, her reaction may be just as unexpected.And then there’s Samantha—happily married and eager to be the perfect June Cleaveresque mother. But baby George brings only exhaustion, extra pounds, and marital strife to her once tidy life. Is having an affair with a friend’s incredibly sexy husband the answer? (goodreads.com)

My Thoughts

The book is broken into three parts: Julia’s story, Maeve’s story, and Sam’s story.

I’ll admit that I got a little frustrated with Julia, whose only focus is having a baby in order to save her relationship. I kept wishing that she would just take a step back and realize that a baby would have probably caused more problems between herself and Mark, but instead she just becomes more and more obsessed until her friend suggests she go to New York for vacation. I was so glad that she went to New York, if only because it was a little rough reading about how jealous Julia was getting when she happened to run into someone at a coffee shop or on the street that had a baby when she couldn’t have one. It was such a relief to see her having fun and not thinking about having a baby.

Maeve’s story overlaps with Julia’s, because when Julia leaves her company to go on an extended vacation in New York, Maeve takes Julia’s place at the company. The summary is a little harsh towards Maeve, who is not necessarily so drastically opposed to having a baby but is just not interested. She is career-driven and a refreshing change from Julia’s baby-obsessed ramblings.

Of course, Maeve doesn’t just take Julia’s place at the office, but seemingly in her old house (in which it is repeatedly said that Julia was not comfortable in such a large house and much preferred a tiny flat) with her old boyfriend. Oh, Maeve. Maeve’s section ends with her in labor, and then it switches.

Sam is the classic over-stressed, bored, stay-at-home mom who wants to go back to work but at the same time doesn’t want to leave her little one with anyone else. She is bored with play dates with other moms with children the same age as little George, and she is frustrated because her husband doesn’t seem to want to help her with their son.

Sam sees an opening when she and her husband agree to have dinner with his co-worker and her husband. He flirts openly with her, and Sam finds herself attracted. I wondered sometimes if it was simply her attraction to the attention, and less to the man himself, that had her worked up into a tizzy. It’s a little heartbreaking to see Sam realize that he is just leading her on, but I was also glad to see that she returns her sights to her husband when she realizes that a fling isn’t what she needs after all.

I sometimes enjoyed the book, and sometimes I didn’t. Maeve’s section is the only one written in first person, and it went by really quickly. I got bogged down in both Julia’s and Sam’s sections, but Sam’s was at least a little more interesting because she learns that she can have a job and be a stay-at-home mom all at once, and she has the extra dilemma of being one of Julia’s best friends and befriending Maeve, whom she initially sees as the enemy but is later glad to have as a friend.

Overall, I’m a little torn about it, but it’s a fun read none-the-less.

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