I will admit that Babyville is not a new find for me. I first read it several years ago while I was pregnant with my daughter, Darcy. The story revolves around three women in different stages of “baby readiness.” Samantha has just had a baby and feels isolated and overwhelmed. Julia desperately wants a baby with her boyfriend, but her focus on conception is driving him away. And Maeve isn’t even thinking about babies as a possibility, but becomes pregnant by a man with whom she’s not in a relationship. All three women traverse the baby-landscape with varying degrees of growth.
What I love about Jane Green is that she doesn’t pull any emotional punches. She’s not afraid of making her characters seem neurotic or even unlikeable. And that gives the reader a much more authentic, intimate insight into the character’s mind. So when I was pregnant and recently coming off the “trying to conceive” cycle – I totally understood Julia’s frustrations and how suddenly, now that she wanted a baby, every woman she saw seemed to be pregnant. I read it, thinking, “Oh my gosh, I was NORMAL!”
And a few weeks ago, I re-read Sam’s post-partum loneliness and frustrations with her well-meaning husband, I thought, “Oh my gosh, I was NORMAL!” (With the exception of Sam’s near-erotomanic crush on a friend’s husband. I didn’t do that.)
Even though the story will occasionally make you uncomfortably introspective, I highly recommend Babyville. The characters aren’t picture perfect, but they’re incredibly real and enjoyable
And then immediately follow it up with Green’s “The Other Woman,” which explores a woman’s claustrophobic relationship with her invasive, passive-aggressive mother-in-law. It gets a little ugly, but it’s a very compelling story.