Title: Baby Proof
Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: June, 2006
Hardcover: 340 pages
Description: First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes....a baby carriage? Isn’t that what all women want? Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seem too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.
This is the witty, heartfelt story about what happens to the perfect couple when they suddenly want different things. It’s about feeling that your life is set and then realizing that nothing is as you thought it was- and that there is no possible compromise. It’s about deciding what is most important in life, and taking chances to get it. But most of all, it’s about the things we will do- and won’t do- for love.
My Thoughts: Initially, the story started out pretty good. It held a lot of promise as I was introduced to two characters that know what they want in life and were fortunate to find their common interests, desires and goals in each other. Unfortunately, this story can never have a happily ever after. So, there really isn’t anything to like about this story. As soon as Ben changed his mind about not wanting children, he began to try to manipulate Claudia into changing hers by constantly bringing up the subject. For Claudia, that just increased the stress and tension. She hopes that Ben changing his mind is just a phase. At this point, logic should dictate to one or both of them that their marriage is in serious trouble and they should have gone to a counselor. Instead, they quit communicating, except to fight about having a baby, and from there things get progressively worse. After one particularly ugly evening, Claudia packs her bags and leaves and moves in with her best friend. From there, the impending divorce is just a formality and before I had time to process that they are having serious problems, the divorce is final!
They end up together, obviously, but this book gets the lowest rating because nothing is resolved! Ben still wants children, Claudia doesn’t. I’m left asking myself WHY GET BACK TOGETHER? Oh, because you love each other and can’t to be apart? That didn’t stop you the first time from packing your crap and moving out! That didn’t stop you from jumping straight into a divorce! So, I ask myself, what could possibly be gained by getting back together now? Claudia hasn’t changed her mind about not wanting children, so if she decides to have them because she doesn’t want to lose Ben, then that makes her TOO STUPID TO LIVE. If Ben decides he is willing to live without children because he doesn’t want to lose Claudia, then he’s giving up his dream to be a father and that’s always going to be a source of resentment. It’s not like they both decided they wanted children and found out they couldn’t and then agreed that living without children to save the marriage any damage from the stress of trying was their next step. On such an important issue as whether or not to have children, how can you expect either one to compromise and have a successful marriage? You compromise on the color you will paint the kitchen or the breed of dog you take in or where you will go on vacation, but never on whether or not to have children.
Nothing about this story ends up working for me. What should have happened is when Ben announces he has changed his mind about children, Claudia should have told him that she hadn’t and suggested counseling to help them decide where they would go from there. Then we see them trying to work out this major difference and dealing with the obstacles in their way. Then, either Ben would realize it was just a phase and he really doesn’t want children or Claudia would change her mind and her biological clock would begin ticking. Either way, it would have been resolved. Nobody would have had to sacrifice anything by compromising. Win-win!
In addition, I didn’t like most of the supporting characters. Claudia’s friend having an affair with a married man who obviously will never leave his wife for her and she should be asking herself, what makes her think that a man who will cheat to be with her won’t cheat on her? Her name should have been Cleopatra because she is the Queen of Denial. Then there are Claudia’s sisters, Maura and Daphne. Maura has the perfect life on the outside. Beautiful children, married to a, hot rich guy, living in a mansion. It’s all a fantasy. He’s cheating on her and she’s too stupid to live because she is putting up with it. She gets a spine near the end of the book and is no longer a doormat, but for how long? Daphne is desperate for children and her inability to have them makes her a basket case. Things work out for her in the end, but I want to know why they weren’t trying to adopt all along? I felt like she wasted too much time moaning and boo-hooing about her infertility instead of just looking into adoption sooner. I thought Claudia’s dad was OK but her mother is a wacko who I could barely tolerate. Most of these people needed a serious slap upside the head, including Claudia and Ben.
Overall, if you like a story with stupid people making bad decisions and then wondering why their lives aren’t turning out the way they planned, then grab this one. Otherwise, steer clear of this one and go for something else.
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