Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 350
Known for her sharp humor and insightful look at the life of the modern woman, British author Jane Green returns with Babyville (2003), a glimpse into the lives of three women whose lives are forever changed by motherhood whether they seek it, revile it, or are immersed in it.
Thirty-three-year-old TV producer Julia believes that a baby would reinvigorate her relationship with her boyfriend, Mark. Julia becomes obsessed with getting pregnant and tries every trick in the book to make it happen. Maeve is also in the television industry. A true commitment-phobe, Maeve cannot even stand the sight of a stroller, but an unexpected pregnancy forces her to change her perspective. The irony is that Maeve's life-altering one-night stand was with Mark, Julia's boyfriend, who was supposedly infertile. New mother Samantha is happily married and has a romanticized idea of motherhood; however, baby George has left her exhausted and emotional, far from what she had expected. Suffering from postpartum depression, Samantha acts irrationally and falls in love with the husband of a friend.
True to her style, Green develops interesting and multifaceted characters who come to life. Green is able to render even the most serious of situations funny. Her quick wit is paired with an overarching sensitivity, which results in a revealing look at the situation faced by each of the women in the story. Maeve, Julia, and Samantha each approach motherhood and its related issues in their own ways. Green explores the incredible frustration and depression that affect women grappling with infertility, the impact of an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy, and the stresses of motherhood.
The trio of women faces both personal and societal pressures that lead them to question the role of women and mothers in society as well as their own feelings about motherhood. Each woman must decide for herself whether she is going to be part of the rat race or the race against her own biological clock.
Jane Green, a native of England, now lives in Connecticut. She is the author of Jemima J, Bookends, Mr. Maybe, Swapping Lives, The Other Woman, and Dune Road.
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