To have a baby or not to have a baby, that is the question that's facing Jane Green's heroines in her fifth novel, Babyville
. Julia, Maeve and Sam are pondering the pros and cons of procreation; the effect that it could have on their careers, partners and lives.
The novel opens with Julia, a successful TV producer, with her legs straight up in the air, encouraging her boyfriend Mark's sperm to reach their destination. Julia thinks she wants a baby to fill the huge gap that has suddenly appeared in her life. But Mark thinks:
We don't make love anymore. We make babies. And we're failing.
Maeve, who also works in TV, is adamant that she doesn't want a baby or a relationship; she's happy as a single, ambitious, career girl: "The togetherness. The cosiness. That coupledom that is pure anathema to me." But she finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand and finds that her preconceptions turn out to be misconceptions. And finally there is Sam; voluptuously, glowingly pregnant at the beginning of the book, but near the end screaming at her beloved partner Chris: "You haven't been stuck in all day with a screaming baby. You have absolutely no idea what it's like for me." Chris feels "neglected. Abandoned . Unwanted."
Babyville is played out in the present tense, with a staccato style delivery, with beats of humour between the emotional labour. The emotions may be powerful and universal, but the prose style may need a longer fermentation period. --Eithne Farry
'An engaging novel with acutely observed characters and situations.' -- Books Magazine
'Entertainingly and sympathetically told by an author who treats the tricky topics ... with heart-warming honesty and humour.' -- Sunday Express
'It's ... spot on. Once you pick up Babyville, it's unlikely you'll be able to put it down.' -- Mirror Magazine
'This eventful and emotional comedy will have you hooked.' -- OK Magazine
'This is a warm, lively, wise and distinctly unputdownable novel.' -- Hello! Magazine