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155 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly thoughtful, intelligent fun.
Throughout her life, Claudia Parr, the heroine of Emily Giffin's excellent new novel, has sworn up and down to potential boyfriends, inquiring friends, concerned family and anyone else that she absolutely DOES NOT want children EVER. She doesn't have a maternal instinct that she's aware of, and she's perfectly content not to find it. Claudia was never interested in...
Published on June 13, 2006 by Benjamin

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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea, Poor Execution
This story had a lot of potential. The moment I heard of the plot - a woman looking for a child-free marriage - I was immediately interested. It's true that women are expected to have children, and anyone who doesn't is believed to be incapable. The idea that a woman may not want children at all just doesn't seem to come to mind. I have always favored this stance myself,...
Published on July 15, 2008 by Iris D.


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155 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly thoughtful, intelligent fun., June 13, 2006
By 
Benjamin (ATLANTA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Baby Proof (Hardcover)
Throughout her life, Claudia Parr, the heroine of Emily Giffin's excellent new novel, has sworn up and down to potential boyfriends, inquiring friends, concerned family and anyone else that she absolutely DOES NOT want children EVER. She doesn't have a maternal instinct that she's aware of, and she's perfectly content not to find it. Claudia was never interested in playing house as a girl, and, now that she's in her 30s, she's determined not to concern herself solely with the secondhand on her biological clock. She enjoys her job, her Manhattan life and her freedom. And Ben, her husband and soulmate, is more than happy to remain childless alongside her, their lives not governed by school plays, soccer games, SUVs and Happy Meals.

But when Claudia and Ben's closest friends announce that they're expecting, Ben starts to wonder if maybe a baby wouldn't be that bad, maybe a baby will bring more meaning to their lives. Claudia, though, doesn't have a change-of-heart. She emphatically refuses to even consider a rugrat. So, even though they had a pre-nuptial "deal" to remain childless, Ben and Claudia are suddenly at an impasse in their marriage with a problem that's not at all easy to resolve.

With SOMETHING BORROWED and SOMETHING BLUE, Giffin addressed the complicated nature of female friendships, while also providing fun characters, outlandish situations, hot guys, cocktails, Jimmy Choos and a good story.

With BABY PROOF, Giffin brings all the fun but addresses an even more difficult topic. Through Claudia's predicament, Giffin dares to ask tough questions, like "Is a marriage enriched - or is life necessarily more meaningful - if you have kids?" or "Is it OK to not want kids?"

I love Claudia in this book. Giffin writes her as tough, stubborn, intelligent, flawed, funny, sexy, opinionated and interesting. And, because she refuses to let Claudia fold or become a simple convert to "mommyhood," Giffin proves herself, once again, to be a brave, uncompromising writer who manages, at the same time, to keep things light and fun. She gives voice to strong female characters whom you can still cheer on, even when you disagree with their stances, choices and actions. It's a difficult thing to do, and Giffin pulls it off in spades.

If you loved SOMETHING BORROWED and SOMETHING BLUE, take heart. Giffin's new book is just as strong. Claudia stumbles down many of the same paths that the previous books' heroines did. Claudia's friends are just as beautiful and fabulous. Her family is just as complicated. And her problems are just as touching.

If this is the first Giffin novel you've read, BABY PROOF will make you a fan.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea, Poor Execution, July 15, 2008
This review is from: Baby Proof (Paperback)
This story had a lot of potential. The moment I heard of the plot - a woman looking for a child-free marriage - I was immediately interested. It's true that women are expected to have children, and anyone who doesn't is believed to be incapable. The idea that a woman may not want children at all just doesn't seem to come to mind. I have always favored this stance myself, and seeing this book I thought it to be an intelligent, somewhat comical view of the subject. Claudia's narrative throughout the book was light and sarcastic, though she frequently brought up subjects that made me think. However, by the middle of the book I was so disappointed and irritated that I ended up just skimming through until I reached the ending.

-SPOILER-
Claudia Parr, who maintains her stance throughout the book - to the point of dissolving her marriage to the man she considers her soulmate - suddenly decides that, "Hey, I might not want kids, but if it will get my husband back then I'll have one." I find this to be not only vastly disappointing, but completely irrational and downright selfish. A woman doesn't want children, but will have one to keep a man? It goes against the strong personality Claudia previously displayed, and also is one of the most self centered things I've ever heard of. Making a decision like that is bound to create resentment towards the husband and the baby, which won't make her hoped for fairy tale marriage any better off. Emily Giffin had a very good novel in the making here, but she ruined it with poor execution.
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79 of 93 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author cannot write a believable childfree woman at all, November 10, 2008
By 
Rose (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Baby Proof (Paperback)
Baby Proof is a fake childfree book written by a parent trying to impersonate the childfree voice, and she gets it all wrong.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

Claudia, the main character, is like a background player in her own novel. I kept wondering why, in a book about a nominally childfree-by-choice woman, so much time was given to X, Y, or Z mommy or mommy-wannabe of the protagonist's acquaintance. She had no interests of her own besides her job; most of the time it felt like she was sitting around waiting for the phone to ring so she could listen to the mommies go on and on about themselves. All Claudia ever did was work and serve as a sounding board, babysitter, and supporter for the mommies she knew. When she finally hooks up with the hot childfree guy and goes on a fantastic vacation with him, she can't enjoy it because "something is missing." Gee, could the missing thing be...A BABY??!1?! Subtle, Giffin ain't.

And Ben, Claudia's husband, comes off as so shallow, naive, and selfish that I couldn't stand him, and couldn't comprehend why Claudia wanted him back. When she left him, I thought GOOD RIDDANCE! He came off like a whiny, pouting, manipulative child himself. I couldn't imagine how any woman would want HIM around, let alone want to have his baby.

Then towards the end, Claudia finally gets lonely and beaten-down enough to try to get back together with her husband by offering to have his baby, and at that point I wanted to throw the book across the room. It stopped being chick lit and became, for me, a very subtle horror story about how loneliness and relentless, soul-deadening social pressure force unmaternal women into having unwanted children just to get along in a world that treats non-mothers like second-class citizens. Yet Giffin depicts this slow erosion of her protagonist's true self as PROGRESS. Gee, glad to know that even women who are 100% sure they don't want children really-truly always want one deep down. Biology always IS destiny then, no matter what that woman's pesky CONSCIOUS MIND wants. Good to know.

A very insidious book. Perhaps for an encore, Giffin can write a novel about a gay woman who gets pressured into a heterosexual marriage because everyone in her life wants to pretend she's straight. Or maybe she can give us the story of Ben and Claudia's 16-year-old daughter, who grows up knowing that her mother Claudia never really wanted her and only had her because her father Ben demanded it.
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49 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brainy, witty and insanely addictive!, November 23, 2006
By 
This review is from: Baby Proof (Hardcover)
If only I had any idea about the witty charms of this eggy colored novel, I would have read it a long time ago. Baby Proof caught me completely off guard with non stop excitement of Claudia and Ben's relationship, her family and her decision not to have a baby that led to trouble in paradise. The characters were simply darling, fleshed out to perfection and they made my heart ache when setbacks and divorce appeared on the horizon. This is definitely a girl's book, and not even comparable to chick lit, something that sounds empty and airy to me, but a rich goulash of love, romance, betrayal, insanely addictive humor and life's lessons learned right before my eyes.

In a nutshell, the story is about Claudia and Ben, who married and has been enjoying their sweet life together in Manhattan, only to meet up with friends who just had a baby. Prior to getting married they have both agreed that they don't want kids, but as Ben gets involved in their friends exciting pregnancy he starts to change. Claudia is thrown off her cozy life, she finds herself unhappy and sees that her husband is no longer the man she though she knew. The tale starts off with many mishaps, her sister having baby issues, her best friend sleeping with a married man, her coworker trying to get a date with her, various scandals and tribulations flowing in and out, weaving out some true patterns that are a part of the quilt of life. Being in a great relationship I could relate to many parts of the book, but most of the time I was really happy that Claudia's turmoil was not my own. Knock on wood, but that only made the story more interesting as the reader gets to know her and falls in love with her personality and only wants the best for her. When things go from bad to worse and Ben has a new female friend Claudia must either move on or try and win him back. The question is whether she wants to have his baby since he's her soul mate or whether she needs to find her own path and not stray back into his life.

I have to say that the ending had me in tears, but I cry at happy endings too, so no spoilers here. That came as a big surprise to me, I rarely cry reading books, but this one yanked at my heart and I had to get up to get some tissues three times while reading the last pages! I have even got my own boss sucked into this book, the second she read the first pages as I waved my latest read in front of her, she dashed to get her own copy, and it's a real pleasure discussing it with her, and I am perhaps a bit jealous that I have all ready read and the end of this journey has been reached. Baby Proof is fictional yet very real, I can see many women relate to it and it reads beautifully as the author has natural talent in story telling.

- Kasia S.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Offensive on so many levels, July 17, 2009
By 
Leslie (Santa Fe, NM USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Baby Proof (Paperback)
I found this book on the discount shelf at a local store, and I am grateful I did not pay full price for it. I will start by saying that I have two kids, I always wanted them, and I am thrilled I have them. That said, I hardly feel that this is something everyone should want, and I am horrified that this book would push that.

The book opens with two people in a thoughtful, committed relationship who have agreed early on in courtship that they do not want children. Several years into it, sitting in a room with a couple who are expecting a child, the male half inexplicably changes his mind. Instead of bringing it up in a thoughtful manner, acknowledging that they had a deal that he has reneged on, asking her if she might be willing to explore the issue with him, he announces in a series of one-liners that he wants kids and that it's pretty much non-negotiable.

Then, instead of being aghast that he has changed his mind on something so fundamental, all of her friends and family are troubled that she won't just give in on this. Because, after all, having kids is something all married couples do, and what is the point of being married if you're not going to have kids?

The rest of the book is about her subtly being worn down and realizing she can't live without him and will have a baby with him. Except that it is portrayed as her gradually becoming more self-aware.

The ending of the book felt to me completely unresolved, although I think I was supposed to feel a nice sense of closure. Overall, this book was completely unsatisfying.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful novel that ruminates on marriage, parenthood, family, and friendship, September 12, 2006
By 
This review is from: Baby Proof (Hardcover)
Baby Proof is a novel about the dissolution of a marriage. Thirty-four year old Claudia Parr is a happily married publishing industry professional whose life is turned upside down by her husband's decision to break their pre-marriage promises. Claudia and Ben had clicked, had worked as a couple, because they wanted to live child-free. They were non-conformists who relished their freedom and agreed that their family would always consist of just the two of them. Well, at least for the blissful two years before Ben revealed that his position on children had changed. He wanted them after all.

At this point, as a reader, I jumped to some snap judgments about this pale yellow book with sparkly diamond baby booties on the cover. Was this going to be just another piece of poor-me-single-thirtysomething-in-NY-searching-for-a-male trash? Fortunately, no! Booksellers, don't shelve this one with all the hot pink chick lit titles. Baby Proof is a novel which explores all aspects of marriage, divorce, relationships at work, adultery, and parenting styles. The break-up is not just a plot device to launch yet another tale of single life in NY. The divorce drives the entire novel, as Claudia compares her situation to that of an infertile sister, a happily married sister, a spunky best friend dating a married man, and her own divorced parents. Toss in a breathtaking post-divorce fling with a co-worker, and you've got some great material. Griffin also delivers some subtle but unexpected plot twists.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Being childless by choice..., November 16, 2006
This review is from: Baby Proof (Hardcover)
I noticed that several reviewers seem to think that making this decision is "selfish," "ridiculous," "unbelievable," etc. I would argue that, given the fact that society "expects" women to want (and have) children, the decision not to takes a lot of thought, a lot of courage, and a lot of self-evaluation. We respect people's decisions to have children. Those who choose not to deserve the same respect--and perhaps they have actually earned it.

Anyway--I appreciate the fact that someone has tried to approach this issue with intelligence--even if, in the end, the message is not truly what it started out to be.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still not sure whether I liked it or hated it..., September 22, 2006
By 
P.A.K. (Kansas City, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Baby Proof (Hardcover)
Warning - spoilers - I'm going to tell you how the book ends.

After reading the book flap, I was very prepared to love this book. I, too, am a young woman who never wants to have children, and I, too, get really tired of being told that I "will change my mind," "don't know what I'm missing," or "it will be different when you have your own." So I was really looking forward to a book where the main character, Claudia, had the same ideals.

UNFORTUNATELY, halfway through the book Claudia decides that she soo very loves her now ex-husband, that she will give up her hopes and dreams for her life and have a baby just to get him back. Now, there is a positive message for the chick lit audience!! I know that at the very end Claudia says she's still not sure what she's going to do and Ben says he wants her back no matter what, but the very fact that she was willing to do so was incredibly disappointing. And, seriously, is society a better place if women who don't want children have them just to keep their husbands? Are the children better off? I was really hoping for a book that made the choice not to have children seem less like the pariahs we are. This book did not do that. In fact, it fed into that whole societal belief that a woman is only complete if she has a child.

If the book hadn't been so well written and the characters so engaging, I would've stopped reading halfway through. Which, I think, says quite a lot about Ms. Giffin's skill as a writer. I didn't stop reading (in part because I hoped Claudia would come to her senses) because I did like the characters. I wanted to know what happened with Claudia's two sisters and with Jess (a whole other mess of bad messages for young woman - get pregnant so your married lover will leave his wife - although in the end that didn't work and Jess did find love).

So, this is a very mixed review. I'm looking forward to reading Something Borrowed & Something Blue because I enjoyed Ms. Giffin's writing. But, Baby Proof, as far as its overall "message" is awful.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Giffin's first two novels, but certainly very satisfying..., November 23, 2007
By 
K. Caldwell (North Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Baby Proof (Paperback)
I was greatly looking forward to reading Baby Proof because I had really enjoyed Something Borrowed and Something Blue, also by Emily Giffin. Truth be told, I definitely did not love this book as much as I had her previous two, but I am still very impressed with Giffin as an author.

Although seemingly falling under the "chick-lit" label, her books are really so much more. The characters are stronger, the dialogue is more believable, and the stories themselves go deeper. This book, although fun and easy to read, wasn't just mindless entertainment. I don't know how anyone could read this story without stopping to think, even if only for a moment, what would I do if I were in the same situation as Claudia? What is more important - holding onto a promise I made to myself of not wanting children, or staying together with the only person I had ever truly loved? I found that I stopped at least once or twice during my read to think about these questions and how they tied into what I want to have in my own life. Amid all the more "chick-lit" drama and unbelievable characters I sometimes read in other books, I must say that this is always very refreshing.

All that being said, for some reason, I was just not as invested in Claudia and Ben's tale as I was in the lives of the characters in Giffin's previous novels - Rachel, Dex, Darcy, and Ethan. But, I can honestly say, I'm sure that is just a case of personal preference, as I think Baby Proof was written just as well as the other two were.

Just as I had with Baby Proof, I find myself greatly looking forward to Giffin's next novel. I certainly feel confident that I will enjoy it at least just as much as the previous three, because on a whole, I've found them all to have been substantial, well-written and highly enjoyable books.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY, a book about a woman who does NOT want to have kids!, June 14, 2006
By 
Melissa Niksic (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Baby Proof (Hardcover)
Emily Giffin's "Baby Proof" tells the story of Claudia and Ben, a couple that seems like a match made in heaven from the very beginning: they're both passionate about their careers, they both have s similar sense of humor, and neither of them wants to have children. Claudia and Ben end up getting married, and for a while it looks like they'll live happily ever after...until disaster strikes. One day Ben informs Claudia that he's changed his mind about having kids and that he wants to be a father after all. At first Ben thinks he'll be able to change his wife's mind, but Claudia refuses to make any compromises where a baby is concerned. Eventually Claudia moves out, and she and Ben get divorced...but the story doesn't end there. Claudia embarks on a hot and steamy love affair with her sexy coworker, Richard, but she never manages to push Ben completely out of her mind. When it becomes apparent that Ben has moved on and is seriously involved with a much younger woman, Claudia begins to re-evaluate the decisions she's made about her marriage and her lifestyle.

This book features a lot of colorful characters. In addition to Claudia and Ben, who are a very likeable couple, there are interesting sub-plots revolving around Claudia's two sisters and their respective husbands, as well as Claudia's best friend, Jess. Giffin explores several different relationships in varying degrees of chaos and bliss, and one of the overriding themes of this novel is that there are no easy decisions in life. What works for one person might not be right for someone else, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

My favorite thing about "Baby Proof" is that the main character is a woman who doesn't want to have children. People who simply have no desire to procreate are often treated as outcasts, and Giffin does a great job of depicting what that can be like. There were several times throughout the novel that I worried Claudia would decide to give in to Ben and agree to have a baby for the sake of hanging onto her man. That didn't happen, but there were many times when Claudia reflected on the child-free lifestyle she chose for herself and wondered if she had made the right decisions. Feelings like that are very natural to have, and I could completely relate to Claudia's character in a lot of ways.

I am a big fan of Giffin's previous two books, "Something Borrowed" and "Something Blue." (By the way, fans of those books will be thrilled to find out that "Baby Proof" gives readers a brief update on Darcy and Ethan...what a nice treat for Giffin to sneak that in there!) I was very excited about "Baby Proof" and I read the whole thing in less than a day. Although I really enjoyed it and found it entertaining and fun, I didn't like it as much as Giffin's first two books. I thought the ending of "Baby Proof" was very abrupt and somewhat unrealistic (although I did like the way Claudia and Ben's relationship was ultimately resolved). The whole Ben/Tucker issue was fine at first, but I don't understand why the encounter between Claudia and Tucker at the hospital played out the way it did. (I'd go into more detail but I don't want to ruin the details for anyone.) These are relatively minor problems, but they bugged me enough that I can't bring myself to give this book a five-star rating.

In spite of the little issues I have with the book, it is still something that I definitely recommend. Emily Giffin is by far my favorite "chick lit" author because her books are so UNLIKE stereotypical chick lit...the characters are thoughtfully well-developed, the story is realistic and heartfelt, and the themes and emotions are so easy to relate to. "Baby Proof" is a wonderful story about true love, friendship, and the choices people make in life. I can't wait for Giffin's next book!
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Baby Proof
Baby Proof by Emily Giffin (Paperback - May 15, 2007)
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