28 February 2013

Book Review: The Baby Diaries by Sam Binnie

""I'd be sick right now, but I never like to reinforce a cliché."

A few weeks after Kiki and Thom return from honeymoon, Kiki finds there's a noticeable absence. An extremely serious noticeable absence of something, it turns out, Kiki now realises she was pretty glad about. One pregnancy test later, Kiki's breaking the "good news" (Thom: Wow. We're so… Edwardian.) and rewriting all the plans she'd made before.

With an ever-expanding waistline, her nightmare childhood "friend" Annie pregnant too, all the problem authors at Polka Dot Books she could (not) wish for and an army of NW London's Smug Mothers to deal with, these nine months might not be the nine months of blooming relaxation she'd been promised…"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Baby Diaries as a paperback or an eBook now.

I enjoyed Sam Binnie's debut novel last year called The Wedding Diaries, and was excited when I realised it was part of a series by the author - I love a series as you can really get into the characters and the story, and if it's done well, it can be really fun to read. I love any sort of books about babies, pregnancy and parenting so it sounded like this one was going to be just up my street. I also have to say I adore the cover - it's a gorgeous bright yellow and looks so fun and fresh, I always love when publishers go for a bright, funky cover rather than the usual sort of covers we might expect.

This book joins on from the previous one in the series, but I don't think it's completely necessary to have read that first, as plenty of the story is recapped in this, well the stuff that you need to know anyway. Kiki and Thom have now been married for a few months, and have recently got back from their honeymoon and Kiki is looking forward to getting back to her job in a small publishing office. However, a spanner is thrown into the work when Kiki realises she's pregnant, and rather sooner than she'd planned as well. With the next 9 months looming, Kiki feels nervous and starts to research all things pregnancy courtesy of her mother, her sister and the interesting antenatal she and Thom find themselves a part of. Will Kiki's pregnancy be a completely easy time or is she destined for the most stressful time of her life?

The diary format narrative for this book worked so well for me, and allowed the pace of the book to be kept up as well because it meant Kiki could move easily through the nine months of her pregnancy and detail enough to keep the reader interested but without getting too bogged down with the details and description. The entries are all dated, and are often very funny, they made me laugh, nod along because as a mum I could sympathise with what Kiki was going through, and I liked that conversations were included as a sort of script within the entry, I really enjoyed the reading experience of this novel. The characters were all well written, had good relationships and Binnie wasn't afraid to tackle the harder side of these, especially when Kiki's pregnancy hormones took over, often with quite amusing results!

As well as the more humourous side of pregnancy, Binnie tackles a few more serious issues within the book as well, from the problems with going on maternity leave and worrying about losing your job, to the issues that Kiki experiences with her own mother in the book (don't want to spoil it so shan't say anymore). I found these were really well written, and makes you warm to Kiki more as a real person because of what she's going through. I also really liked her husband Thom, he's a very warm and likeable character, the perfect husband in so many ways and it was nice to read a male character in a chick lit book that I wasn't meant to hate from the beginning, in fact it was more Thom that kept Kiki's feet on the ground! The pregnancy was dealt with well and realistically, a lot of women will be nodding along and sympathising, but I think it'll be a fun read if you've not had children too, there's plenty in here for everyone.

I felt that towards the end of the book, once Kiki and Thom were now parents, the pace of the book did drop a little bit and it lost some of its humour, but it didn't spoil the overall read for me, I just personally enjoyed the first two-thirds with pregnant Kiki more. However, I found the book overall to be a fantastic read, and I was totally engrossed in Kiki's tales, from the nicer parts of pregnancy to the not-so-nice bits! Binnie's funny writing, which often does have you giggling away as you're reading, makes for a great read and keeps you wanting to turn the pages. The only danger is that because there aren't chapters, there is never a good place to stop at night as you want to keep going, telling yourself 'only one more diary entry then I'll put it down!'. I loved this book, and can't wait for the final installment of Kiki and Thom's story coming next year. Brilliant!

1 comment:

  1. Definitely like the sound of this book! Another one for my Wishlist to read and review for my blog too! ~ Jeanz