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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on January 25, 2012
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Everyone loves a good chick-lit book and Babyville by Jane Green does not disappoint. The book opens with Julia, our main character numero-uno, legs in the air, against the bedroom wall having just had sex in an attempt to make a baby... after nine-months of trying, she has begun taking a more creative approach to 'baby-dancing'. Having been there myself, I found this image not only familiar, but hilarious. Oh the steps one will take...

Jane Green seems to have hit the 'nail on the head' when writing about the connections between Julia, Maeve and Sam... our main characters. It was great to travel through the different stages of a woman's life when it comes to baby's... 1) Baby-making, 2) Pregnancy & Labour and 3) Being a new-mom. It was not only entertaining but very true to form. I could really relate to each of the women in this book and the stage in which they were in at any given time... I loved it.

While the book was overly predictable, so much so that I knew the end before getting there, it was enjoyable. I think that for a book that follows this journey, it was refreshing that it was, in fact, predictable. Having an unexpected twist in the plot would have brought the story into a direction that was unnecessary.

Overall, Babyville by Jane Green is a great book for just about anyone who enjoys a good 'chick-lit' story. Someone who has seen themselves on any one of the three journey's told within. You will laugh, cry and rejoice. A fun and fast read...
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on July 5, 2005
I loved Jane Green's Mr. Maybe. So I started reading her other works and have enjoyed them just as much despite the fact that so topics didn't seem all that interesting, at least for me, being a single twenty-something, marriage and babies are something I can really relate to, but I was really surprised that this book was as enjoyable as her others about the single life. Ok, this is chick lit, but it's so much smarter than some of the other stuff that's out there. It's not unrealistic where everyone is beyond beautiful and love-at-first-sight crap. It's well written, with realistic dialogue and characters. I'm surprise no one wrote a review for this novel as for some of her other novels, but rest assured that so far, every book I've read of Ms. Green's is amazing. I've read 7 books by her so far and have not been disappointed by any. Mr. Maybe is still my favorite, but I would re-read all the others in a heart-beat. If you like chick lit, esp. British chick lit, you'll absolutely love this book (and her others too). If you don't like chick lit, you'll still love it. I would also say if you like authors such as Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Catherine Alliott, and Sarah Webb, then you'll love these as well.
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on May 28, 2004
I read Babyville as an abridged audiobook (only because an unabridged format was unavailable to me) and it wasn't the witty, sarcastic read I was expecting it to be. And at times it was downright depressing and sometimes irritating. What happened to the humor Green's previous books were lauded for? Was it all cut out in this abridged version? If so, that's a shame for both the author and myself!
This version of Babyville features the stories of three women all facing baby issues of one sort or another and whose lives intertwine in the most unexpected of ways. Julia's story is first. When the story opens Julia is a successful businesswoman who, at first glance, appears to be in a satisfying relationship with her long-time beau Mark. But trouble simmers below the surface. Julia and Mark's once passion-filled relationship has fallen into a rut. Julia feels stifled, bored even, by her quiet life with Mark. She's an outgoing city girl and Mark is a homebody. She's comprised much to make a life with Mark and has decided that having a baby will fix everything wrong in their relationship. She couldn't be more mistaken but that's beside the point because the two soon realize conceiving isn't quite as easy as they expected. Julia obsesses over becoming pregnant, ruining her business reputation and straining her already troubled relationship to the breaking point. Julia's pain, frustration and misguided anger are realistic and dramatically written and Mark's tolerant attitude is almost pitiful. It's easy to feel the pain of this couple and when the inevitable happens it's was quite a relief!
Next up is Maeve's story. Maeve is another successful career gal but one who is desperate to avoid babies at all costs. She has no interest in kids and intends to keep it that way. When an out of the ordinary encounter with a handsome colleague leads to a one night stand that leaves her pregnant she immediately makes an appointment to have an abortion. Everything changes when she tells the impregnator of her condition and realizes that she is not alone in this after all. Maeve grows incredibly as a character and her relationship is the most satisfying of this trio. Unfortunately, because so much is going on (what with the three separate stories and all) her story quickly ends and the focus shifts to Samantha (Sam).
Sam is happily married to her long-time love Chris and is expecting a baby when the book begins. When her story rolls around she is a new mom intent on becoming the Best Mom Ever. She spends her days cooking organic meals for baby George and neglecting her long-suffering (but always loving) husband. Eventually she feels unappreciated and fat and contemplates having a lusty affair with a new friends' husband with near disastrous (and very embarrassing) results. Initially, I really liked Sam and felt horrible for her as her depression continued to spiral out of control. But as her story progressed she came off as somewhat of a self-centered nitwit and I lost a huge chunk of respect for her character though she does redeem herself in the end (thankfully!)
As a working woman and a mother I could find a bit of myself in each of these women and I suspect many us can as well. But, though their plights are realistic it is often difficult to like these women completely (at least in this version). They come across as self-centered and shallow too often for my liking. The men actually come off much more loving and tolerant than the gals, I'm afraid.
Another problem was the fact that this audio moves fast. Just as we're getting to know the characters the storyline switches focus to an entirely different set of people with different "baby" issues. Is it the abridged format or just the way the book was written? I guess I'll never know because I don't feel inclined to read the unabridged version after this experience.
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on June 18, 2003
Jane Green is definitely one of my favorite chick-lit authors. "Babyville" is different from her previous works (Mr. Maybe, Bookends) which concentrate on single girl finding love, etc. "Babyville" deals with different women and the themes that tie all three of them are relationships and babies. The first woman, Julia was a succesful television producer who had a steady relationship with Mark, who was an attorney. Their relationship had been going downhill and Julia felt that a baby would heal and "repair" their relationship. Unfortunately, Julia was unable to get pregnant and resentment towards Mark grew as she blamed him for that.
The next woman, Maeve was a career oriented television producer who was recently offered a great job. Maeve did not believe that she needed a man to make her life complete and commitment was the last thing on her mind. Unfortunately for Maeve, she became pregnant after a one night stand with a stranger. She had to decide whether to keep the baby or to get an abortion as a baby would be an obstacle to her career. The last woman, Sam, recently gave birth to a baby boy and the author showed the difficulties of the first year of having a baby. Sam's relationship with her husband suffered when she resented him for leaving the house for work when Sam was stuck at home, doing chores and taking care of a screaming baby. Chris, on the other hand had to deal with a difficult wife and anything he said might cause a huge argument.
I really enjoy "Babyville" because it deals with real issues that women can relate to. In addition, Jane Green also did a great job in developing her characters making them seem "real" and likeable. She has a way of making you feel that you know the characters personally. The themes are definitely - relationship, love and career, and how you balance one with the other. I highly recommend this book because it is different from other typical chick-lit as this one is more serious, better written and is definitely a keeper.
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on June 13, 2003
Julia wants a baby, Maeve doesn't, and Sam only thought she did. All three of these women are witty, bright, successful --- and completely controlled by motherhood or thoughts thereof.
Julia has been trying for months to have a baby, and it has driven a wedge between her and Mark. She is convinced that it's his fault, and he knows that. She is jealous of Sam, her ever-vivacious best friend who got pregnant with only the slightest bit of effort. Her boss suggests that she take a leave of absence and get away from some of the stress; she ends up finding a new, revitalizing home in New York.
Her replacement at London Daytime Television, career-oriented Maeve, gets nauseated at the very thought of a baby, but when she becomes pregnant via Julia's ex, Mark, her outlook changes.
Sam, Julia's best friend, thought that being a stay-at-home mother would be the perfect life, but reality is a lot different than she imagined.
This is a book that is not so much about babies as it is about answering society's perpetual question of "What are you going to do now that your biological clock is ticking?" BABYVILLE boasts a charming cast of characters, all intelligent, likeable women with realistic actions, thoughts and concerns. The supporting characters are developed well in their own right, from Mark to Maeve's mother to Sam's husband.
--- Reviewed by Carlie Kraft
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on June 25, 2003
Babyville is a very readable book, as are most of Jane Green's novels (Bookends being the exception.) The 3 main characters are very 3-dimensional, and I think that the fact the book is told from 3 perspectives is great. The characters call each other out on their selfish, destructive behavior, which is very refreshing. Seems like most chick-lit "heroines" get indulged by their friends and family.
That being said, there is still quite a bit of whining and self pity in this book (which is why it only got 4 stars, I thought it went overboard.) However, the essential story of balancing friendships, relationships and family is poignant and well told. As other reviews have noted, it is a more grown up Jane Green - not as light as Jemima J and Mr. Maybe - but well worth the read!
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on June 18, 2003
I have read all of Jane's books so far, and this is one of her best. Very enjoyable and fun to read. What I love about her books, is that her characters are likeable and complex, and she has a great knack for intertwining a lot of lives together. Also her attention to detail is not too over-the-top, where you get bored of reading it. I used to live in England, and as an American, I love to live through her characters in the "English" way.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is having their first baby, parents and anyone who wants a family.
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on November 9, 2003
I struggled through this overly-long, completely humorless novel in an effort to understand why other readers enjoyed it so much, but I could never figure it out. The book is filled with boring, utterly unoriginal scenes and cliches. But worse, the author ignores the most important rule of entertaining writing -- show don't tell. I read Jane Green's Mr. Maybe, which offered at least a few snappy lines in spite of its ridiculous ending and tendency to ramble. But her foray into Mommy Lit is a witless failure. Don't bother.
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on April 26, 2004
I enjoyed this book and the way the author tied the 3 ladies together. I also liked listening to the book since it is of another culture. I would recommend this book but it does not have much content, more like an easy read book.
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