8 March 2012
Book Review: Babies in Waiting by Rosie Fiore
I love books about motherhood and babies. I have done even before I had a child myself, but now I'm a mum, I love to read these books to see how well researched and written they are, but also to relate to the stories that the writers tell about these women too. This isn't Rosie Fiore's debut novel but I haven't read her previous novel so I was new to her writing. I loved the idea of this book from the minute I spotted it on Amazon, so was really pleased to receive a review copy from the publishers, and got stuck in. I can't say I am hugely keen on the cover, it's a little bland but I suppose it relates quite well what is in the book, and has a fairly serious look to it as well. It was so good that I read it in just over a day because I didn't want to put it down and was totally absorbed by this novel, and here's why!
The book tells the tale of 3 pregnant women. Firstly, there is Louise, the oldest of the women who ends up getting pregnant after a one night stand with someone at work. She decides to keep the baby, and move to London to live near her brother and sister. Only Lou's pregnancy proves to be a sore point for Lou's sister Rachel who can't seem to have children herself, and opens up a rift between the pair. Then there's Toni, who is told by her doctors she'd better hurry up and have a baby with hubby James after finding out she has fertility problems, and suddenly finds out after a short while of trying that they're pregnant. The sudden pregnancy proves difficult for the couple, can they make it through? Finally, there's teenager Gemma, who wants to get pregnant for all the wrong reasons with boyfriend Ben. But with parents who don't really give a damn, an interfering mother-in-law and dad-to-be who doesn't want to know, will Gemma manage alone?
The three mums-to-be all seem very different, but that's the great thing about being a mum. You end up talking to people you'd never have spoken to before, because you have these little people in common, and you form friendships quickly. I like that Fiore chose to bring in the multitude of parenting websites and forms out there that mums-to-be use for a lot of different reasons, and how Lou and Toni turn to these for support. Having been on one myself, they can be both a gift and a curse, but years later I'm still in touch with mums I met on them, and I like the positive tale that Toni and Lou have from these sites. Gemma is brought into the friendship through a real life friendship and realises she has more in common with the older women that she originally thinks. I thought each of the women were fantastic, and totally realistic and relatable for mums.
None of them are perfect, by any means. Lou gets pregnant after a one night stand, but I like how she decided to face up to her responsibilities after an initial wobble, and how well she copes on her own, especially when a face from her past comes back on the scene. I felt sorry for her halfway through the book when her friends aren't so happy with her, but she was a great character. Toni's story made for interesting reading because although she was desperate to get pregnant after medical issues, the suddenness of her pregnancy causes problems with her and her husband. I felt that this was especially well done, because you can never prepare yourself for how much of a shock a baby coming in to your life is going to be, even when you're just pregnant and they aren't here yet! James' reactions were so well written, a lot of men will certainly relate to him and I felt Fiore did this story so well. Finally, there's Gemma, who gets pregnant for all the wrong reasons but ends up making the best decisions for her and her baby. The young relationship between her and boyfriend Ben is touching, and while you can see what Gemma can't i.e. what will happen to their relationship and how he'll react to being a dad, it's interesting to read it unfold.
Everything about this book was a joy to read. It was easy to differentiate between the three women's stories, with Fiore using first person narrative for Toni and third person for Gemma and Louise, and I felt this worked really well for the book, and kept it fresh as I was reading. Fiore isn't afraid to shy away from the real feelings a woman (and the men!) go through from the minute they find out that they're pregnant, and the fears, worry and joy you experience through to the births, which aren't overly graphic but are fitting for the tone of the rest of the novel - do expect a bit of realism when you're reading though. I loved this book, and though Fiore has covered the issue of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood so well that this book will resonate with women up and down the country. I felt the extension of Toni's story for the latter part of the book is hugely important too, and I applaud Fiore for covering this issue in the book. If you want a funny, realistic and touching tale of babies, please pick up a copy of Babies in Waiting because you really won't be disappointed, it's fantastic.
You can buy Babies in Waiting in paperback and as an eBook now.