Monday, August 2, 2010

Review: "The Baby Trail" by Sinead Moriarty

Emma Hamilton is in her early thirties, married to her patient and loving husband James, and desperate to get pregnant. All around her, friends and family members are getting pregnant with ease, but no matter what they try, Emma just can't seem to get pregnant herself. Comments and questions from well-meaning yet intrusive family members only make things worse for Emma, as she can't understand why she and James can't get pregnant. Month after month, the couple faces disappointment, and finally decide to seek professional help and search out fertility specialists who, frustratingly, tell her that both of them are completely fine. They tell Emma to relax, and a baby will come.

But Emma is unable to relax. She wants this more than anything, and there is no reason that she shouldn't be pregnant by now. Frustrated beyond belief, Emma takes any and all advice thrown her way in her deperate attempts to conceive, driving her friends, family, and especially her husband crazy.

The Baby Trail is Sinead Moriarty's debut book. I was lucky enough to pick this one up at my favourite used bookstore, and couldn't wait to read it. I enjoyed it for the most part, but there were a few things that bothered me.

Let me start with what I enjoyed. Emma, our main character, was a lot of fun. She's obsessed with becoming a mother, something that I'm sure many women can relate to, and will do anything to become one. Sometimes she's a little like a bull in a china shop, plowing through in order to reach her goal, not really paying attention to anything else around her, but I'm sure that anyone who has ever been in her situation can relate to how making a baby can be all-encompassing. Moriarty has taken a very serious topic, infertility, and written about it with sensitivity, yet she keeps the whole thing from being overly sad by giving the book a chick lit feel. Quirky characters and funny situations abound, making this book on the whole enjoyable. I also enjoyed that the story was set in Ireland. I have a thing for books set in England and Ireland!

There were a few things that I didn't enjoy. I found the dialogue stilted at times, but as this was Moriarty's debut book, and she's written several others so I'm assuming that this has improved. The ending was particularly bothersome. There's incredible tension built throughout the book as the reader tries to figure out if Emma will be successful in her attempts to become pregnant, and then it ends. Abruptly. No one changes, nothing revolutionary is revealed and the reader is left hanging, wondering if there were a few pages left out of their copy. It was like encountering a brick wall in the middle of nowhere, and then running into it. This kind of ending left me less than satisfied, but I was happy to find out this morning that there are two additional books about Emma and her attempts to have a baby, so there was a reason for the abrupt ending. I still think that it could have ended a little differently, a little more gently, but it didn't scare me away from Moriarty completely, and I will seek out copies of her two subsequent books about Emma (like I need an excuse to hit to bookstore!).

Overall, this is a book worth reading, especially is you've ever had problems conceiving or know someone who has. Despite the fact that I haven't personally encountered any of these issues, I still really enjoyed it and the new perspective on baby-making that it gave me. My advice? Make sure that you have all three books in the series before reading this one, or else you'll be left feeling a little let down when you finish it.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (loses points for the abrupt ending, despite the fact that there are sequels)
Recommended to: Anyone who has had problems conceiving, chick lit lovers
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, 2010 Chick Lit Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010, RYOB Challenge 2010

This was my personally purchased copy.

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