on February 10, 2004
The Thin Pink Line
Lauren (Hyphe-Natal) Baratz-Logsted has written a wickedly funny satire that should even make members of the opposite sex read a book about pregnancy, and like it. In this case a fake pregnancy. The twists of storyline, wring out insight upon insight; revealing self absorbed behavior, that we have all dabbled in, now haven't we?
The reader is treated to several triple levels of life imitating art and vise versa. When your brain is not being twisted with unabashed orgies of logical incest, your gut will be wrenched with guilty laughter at yourself for enjoying this zany bit of fiction; cooked up by a writer, who was really pregnant when she wrote it.
Jane suckers her friends, fellow workers and boss, with a pregnancy gone awry and a hope people will treat her better; while her thought process, satirizes the society in which we all swim.
Now we couldn't miss a chance, to thread our needle wit with such a delightfully spun tale, now could we?
Read this at your own risk. Your ego could get skewered.
The only negative for me? I thought the smattering of rough language could have been left out, but then perhaps I'm a little old fashioned.
If you enjoyed "Auntie Mame", you will enjoy this book.
The ending will surprise you.
Men should love this book too.
on January 26, 2004
What starts out as a suspicion of a real pregnancy somehow turns into a fake pregnancy for all the wrong reasons. Or all the right reasons, if you think like Jane. I found myself drawn to her~ in spite of her less than lovable ways. There's something about her that had me in her corner. I liked her. I liked her wit too, which has an edge to it. I found myself chuckling at her thoughts and actions.
The plot may be less than believable, but this book doesn't strike me as "serious fiction." It's a fun book, with a plot that is believable in that context. It held my interest~ wondering what Jane was going to come up with next. She has some clever ways of getting out of the messes she found herself in.
She does "grow" throughout the book too. Not physically (since her pregnancy is a fake), but as a person. She loses some of her "me" self-centeredness in subtle ways as the book progresses.
This is a new view on pregnancy since it's written from a non-pregnant "pregnant" woman's point of view. I found the book refreshingly different from others I have read. It's well written and humorous, and I would definitely recommend it to others.
on January 25, 2004
(Upfront FYI: I'm a guy. I don't know if that's important, but it just might be.)
THE THIN PINK LINE is an enjoyable madcap book that is guaranteed to delight lovers of zany British humor, a subject on which Baratz-Logsted must have been a patient student. It has many laugh-out-loud moments that, while of course very far-fetched (the book IS a comedy, after all), seem so real because of the author's compelling characterization.
I see some reviews on here that take issue with Jane's ethics and hold that against the book when they rate it. Yeah, she's self-absorbed, but what person that fakes a pregnancy wouldn't be? The book can't be about what it's about and have Jane be any less self-involved - any less so and she wouldn't do the things that make this book so funny. Jane's character reminds me of Basil on Fawlty Towers - that guy was anything but sympathetic and the show was hysterical. Lighten up, folks. Leave the "reader baggage" at the front desk, please; the bellhop will bring it up to your room after you turn the final page.
What I loved about this book the most was that I found myself throughout it rooting for Jane to be able to pull this off and always worrying that she was about to be outted as a pregnancy-faker (and all the ramifications of that). Lolita-esque, if you will, just without the gross stuff. It's compelling, fresh, and so satirical of a story that Jonathan Swift has nothing on it. I don't normally read books that are meant for a near women-exclusive audience, but I'm very glad to have spent the time with this one.
on November 11, 2003
Move over Bridget Jones. From the first pages I knew Lauren Baratz Logsted had written a jewel of chick lit. This hilarious fake pregnancy romp will make you hold your ribs with glee, even if you never considered having a baby.
The thin pink line is that of the home pregnancy test pictured on the cover. Jane, a cunning British editor, refuses to give up her pregnant status right away when she discovers she is not having a baby after all. But whenever she tries to end the charade, peer pressure, financial considerations, unexpected circumstances and clever plot twists trap her deeper into the lie. Dreading discovery, Jane leads a complicated double life and even falls in love, all the while brazenly fooling attentive co-workers, friends, and close family.
You want to laugh and you want to cry. You want to talk some sense into the misguided little darling. The story manipulates the reader into accepting the unbelievable. From fake sonograms to maternity clothes, padded tummy and baby showers, Jane makes her share of mistakes as well. On each page you expect the ticking bomb to explode, and you keep reading, to find out how Crazy Jane could possibly pull off this implausible stunt for yet another chapter. Is Jane mad? Certainly. Clever? Without a doubt. Human? Endearingly so.
Are pregnancy symptoms a thing of the mind? Very possibly, as Jane feels them all. Eventually she succeeds in bringing her fake pregnancy all the way to the ninth month. But in the process, Jane also learned about babies and mothers, she re-evaluated her life, her career, her relationships. She now recognizes the value of true love and is finally willing to sacrifice to its altar. Although somewhat contrived, the surprise ending still tastes of serendipity.
The perfect gift of laughter for any woman on your list.
on August 25, 2003
What I love about this book is its refreshing, wicked humor, original plot, and laugh out loud scenes. I love the main character, Jane Taylor, because sheï¿½s wacky in such a charming sort of way. With Jane, wanting to become pregnant, and then failing at it, doesnï¿½t faze her determination to BE pregnant. That is, to fake it to the max! Such is the logic of single and single-minded Jane.
I especially enjoyed the conversations between Jane and her gay, best friend, David; the one who tries to give her good advice and show her the insanity of her plan, and yet remains supportive of her throughout the story. Jane also experiences some very funny and memorable moments with her mother and her boss, Lana Lane (hilariously referred to as Dodo) and other co-workers at the publishing firm where sheï¿½s employed.
This book is just full of zany characters, but none zanier than Jane herself. This sassy, good-time read would definitely make for a good movie.
In my opinion, the author is a comic genius and I look forward to reading more of her novels, hopefully, in the near future.
on July 3, 2003
When she is late, a condition that never happens to her, Jane assumes she has to be pregnant, which makes her elated. She spreads the word about her delicate condition and everyone especially her boyfriend treats her with care and dignity. However, a few days later her period arrives. Reluctantly, she knows she must tell everyone the truth, but besides her friends and colleagues thinking she is a bonehead, Jane enjoyed the pampering she received. She decides to say nothing and just pretend that she is pregnant.
However, Jane begins to learn the down side of her fake pregnancy, as she becomes a closet smoker and drinker since she cannot imbibe in public. She gives up her exercise class and has to fake symptoms. When her boyfriend learns of her sham, he leaves, but Jane continues with her con until the bittersweet best and worse that could happen to her occurs. Jane falls in love.
At first brush, readers will think THE THIN PINK LINE is a silly chick lit tale, but that would be a mistaken classification. Instead, the story is an amusing allegory on the importance of honesty and caring for others. Jane is a delightful key player whose web of lies proves more difficult to maintain with every passing moment. Readers should take a chance on something different as the morality lesson venue is cleverly interwoven inside a jocular plot.
on July 3, 2003
Jane is over the moon when she is late and decides that because she is never late, that she must be pregnant. Visions of wedding bells, etc. fill her head, and the world turns a rosy pink hue. Unfortunately, her period does arrive a few days later, meaning that all the dreams she has had are down the drain, and she will have to admit to everyone who has been so nice to her because of her condition that it was all a mistake. That does not make her very happy, so she decides to go through with being pregnant.
The results are interesting. Yes, people are nicer, but there are drawbacks. First off, she can no longer smoke or drink in public. There is no baby, so she has to work to be able to exhibit the symptoms that people are expecting. She has to give up her exercise classes, and Trevor, her boyfriend is not very happy with her, especially once he finds out the truth.
Trevor's leaving does not change the plan, though. Jane continues being "pregnant," receiving accolades for her bravery. There is yet another twist. She falls in love, and her new love does not have any idea she is "expecting".
The complications abound with every passing page, as does the bittersweet hilarity. Jane learns valuable lessons about honesty, love, and putting others ahead of herself before it is all over and done, but it will take a miracle to save her.
***** This is an extraordinarily different book, one that will make you laugh and cry both. It also leaves you wondering, what happened. Jane is just a typical person, one you can almost identify with. She and her fellow cast members join the rising trend of characters who are not extraordinary, just people. *****
on June 20, 2003
I'm not usually a fan of what could be called 'Chick-Lit' or 'Brit-com', just so that's clear. However, I was given an advance copy of The Thin Pink Line to read on a long flight and was very pleasantly surprised. First of all, the dialogue (one of my first criteria) is crisp, well written and sounds real in the mind's ear. Next, there are moments that are laugh-out-loud funny. The novel is very well paced and moves right along. The only criticism I may have, and this is purely from a personal point of view and has nothing to do with the writing, is that I found it very hard to sympathise in any meaningful way with Jane, the protagonist. However, if someone like me who doesn't read much along the lines of this sort of thing enjoyed it very much, I'm sure people who do will find that The Thin Pink Line stands head and shoulders above the rest.
on June 30, 2003
This book is bloody brilliant. In some ways, it fits in the genre of Bridget Jones in the sense of Very-Funny-29YearOld-Single-British-Working-Girl-Copes-with-Boss-and-Screwy-Love-Life-and-Dreams-of-True-Love-and-Marriage, except that this is much better. (B.J. was sometimes too ditzy and too incompetent at work for my taste.)
My favorite aspect of this book? The protagonist kept surprising me. That's not typical for the average romance novel, which this is sort of, but not really. This one goes beyond the usual.
The smart-ass heroine is very, very funny (of course) but quite tender-hearted (of course). Best of all, there's a wry, wise twist that I can't tell without spoiling it. Let's just say the heroine ends up in a very different place than she (or I) would have expected.
This is a Don't Miss book, a fabulous read.
on January 19, 2004
Like many aspiring and actual parents, Jane discovers that there are some perks to pregnancy. And once she can rule out all the concerns and difficulties of really being pregnant, it's even better. The author has created a character many can identify with: a woman who's doing okay professionally, but whose personal life leaves a great deal to be desired. What Jane learns during the next nine months, like Will Lightman in Nick Hornby's About A Boy, is that parenthood changes you, even when you're just pretending.
Baratz-Logsted has written the perfect antidote to What to Expect When You're Expecting, a month-by-month romp through pregnancy, with a whole different set of complications. This book is a hoot. My only disappointment was the length of the book. Happily, the reader is promised more of Jane's adventures.