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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Turn at the Darker side of "Tales,"
When I picked up "Babycakes," I was on a happy high. I'd learned there was more than just the three "Tales" books with the characters I'd met and loved from the "Tales of the City" trilogy. I was all ready to jump into that delightful care-free world (albeit a little reticent to bump into something like Jim Jones again, who showed up in...
Published on July 2, 2001 by Jonathan Burgoine

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Book; Abominable eBook
First of all, the book itself is brilliant. Please don't hesitate to buy it and read it--you won't regret it.

That said, the Kindle edition is abysmal. I purchased it at the same time as the other installments just released; all contain the occasional typo or two, but this one looks like it was one of the rejects of those infinite monkeys on infinite...
Published on February 7, 2012 by David R. Rich


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Turn at the Darker side of "Tales,", July 2, 2001
When I picked up "Babycakes," I was on a happy high. I'd learned there was more than just the three "Tales" books with the characters I'd met and loved from the "Tales of the City" trilogy. I was all ready to jump into that delightful care-free world (albeit a little reticent to bump into something like Jim Jones again, who showed up in "Further Tales of the City" and is the only disbelief I was unwilling to suspend).
However, staying true to the reality of the movement and the 80s, I found AIDS, death, decay and the long slide down from the fun and energy from the first three books. I didn't mind, though it was a bit of slap in the face, and the death of a major character to AIDS before the book even begins was a real punch in the stomach.
Put simply, Maupin drove home, hard, how vivid the change was for those who had existed in the care-free seventies, who found themselves suddenly trapped in the shallow, AIDS-ridden eighties.
The characters are back in full company, with the death of one major character, and the introduction of a few others. The story still focuses mostly around Michael and Mary Anne to my mind, but the rest of the "Tales" folk are definately along for the ride. The topics darken up a bit, and reality is definitely in play this time. I reccommend it, but with the warning that you're not getting the same care-free tone of the "Tales" trilogy - for the seventies are over.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous!, October 14, 1999
By A Customer
"Babycakes" is one of the most touching novels in the "Tales of the City" series as it marks the end of the seemingly fun-filled pre-AIDS era, and the beginning of death, despair and tragedy. It's deliciously comic whilst at the same time having essences of profound sadness on every page. Freud would have a field day analysing the symbolic significance of the endless rain that drones on throughout most of the book. More sombre and more political than his first three novels Babycakes is firmly planted in the period of the very early eighties. Maupin is a topical writer and seems to draw influence from his immediate surroundings and the time in which he lives. Although almost twenty years have passed since the early 80s the relevance and importance of his subject matter remains undiminished by time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My second-favorite in the series, October 1, 2000
Further Tales went a little too far into the absurd. Babycakes is MUCH better in this regard. Strange things happen, but it's not entirely impossible to suspend disbelief.
And like More Tales (my favorite of the series), Babycakes deals sensitively with a number of controversial issues. I was particularly impressed that (unlike some gay authors) Maupin shows the same sensitivity to and in-depth look at the problems his heterosexual characters face (i.e. Brian's infertility) as the problems of his gay characters.
I was a bit upset by the off-stage death of a major character in the series from AIDS, but Maupin write well about the affect the death had on his partner and the others who were close to him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, quirky, diverse, magical Baghdad by the Bay, June 26, 2003
The late, great SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen coined the term Baghdad by the Bay for the city that captured his heart, San Francisco. And Armisted Maupin peopled his Tales of the City series (first serialized in the Chronicle in 1976) with a huge assortment of eccentric, quirky, diverse characters that capture your heart and keep you reading, reading, reading even when you know you should have turned off the light hours ago. Babycakes, in which ambitious Mary Ann (the wide-eyed innocent from the Midwest through whose eyes we earlier came to see an ingenue's view of live and love in the City) has a baby, was the first work of fiction to recognize the scourge of AIDS in SF.
Drop dead funny, bittersweet, and enchanting, Babycakes dangles intricate and outrageously interwoven plot threads in front of the readers, and it all just makes you want more, more, more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read from Maupin, July 14, 2001
Yet another series of adventures for the delightful characters that populate Maupin's books, this time with a bittersweet twist: the reality of AIDS. Because Maupin's Tales of the City books are generally so lighthearted, zany and playful, when the story opens with Michael mourning his lover, it hits pretty hard.
Despite the slight bittersweetness, this installment of the series features all of Maupin's signature flourishes and his wonderful sense of humor.
If your looking for light, breezy stories and likable characters you couldn't find anywhere but San Francisco, then buy this series of books and get started reading. You'll quickly get addicted. For those of you San Franciscans past and present who've never read Maupin, he's worth a look. If nothing else his books will make you remember why San Francisco was once such an interesting and fun place to live and what's sorely missing from it today!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh baby! What a book!, December 17, 1997
I'm sad just knowing that I only have two books left to read in the series. I intend to go as long as I can between them just so I can stretch the enjoyment out as far as possible. Babycakes (vol 4) is by far the best book since the first Tales. Suspenseful, funny and sad (Michael's conversation with Mrs. Madrigal about Jon brought me to tears), Never once do I think these characters are phoney or unbelievable. The way Maupin writes, you'd think he'd spent his whole life with his characters (maybe he did). Read it!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A darker time begins, June 18, 2007
By 
Edward Aycock (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A lot of readers consider this the beginning of the darker "Tales" books, but that's only half-true. "Babycakes" does go into darker territory, reflecting the changes happening in San Francisco, but the following book in the "Tales" series, "Significant Others" is lighter and has some classic moments. Maupin has said he could not ignore what was happening in the gay community at the time, and who can blame him? To have written another "Tales" story set in 1983 and not mention the AIDS crisis would have been silly. Yes, we liked our SF stories light, but the books never shied away from cultural commentary.

That said, I will be honest and say "Babycakes" is my least favorite of the "Tales" series. It's not because of the mention of AIDS (plus, Maupin's writing in this book is even stronger then before), it's partly because of the grayness. This book seems to be set in perpetual rainfall, drizzle, overcast skies. This also reflects on the characters (Mary Ann and Brian even have gray industrial carpet) and their actions.

But my biggest problem of all with the novel is the character of Simon. Maupin has always written cleverly and often, we have no idea where a story will end up (as seen in this same book when Michael discovers Mona in the UK), but with Simon, the reader knows exactly where the story's going. There's no fun mystery, and indeed, only a last minute (but highly, HIGHLY implausible) revelation by Simon gives this a tiny moment of the unexpected. Simon also never comes alive as a character as do other new characters introduced in the book (like Wilfred and Teddy) and may as well walk around with "plot device" on his shirt.

On the plus side, it's great to see Mona again. If you're not happy with this book, just remember it's not the end of the Barbary Lane gang so just see it as a book of character growth and development and wish them well for their next adventure.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Book; Abominable eBook, February 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First of all, the book itself is brilliant. Please don't hesitate to buy it and read it--you won't regret it.

That said, the Kindle edition is abysmal. I purchased it at the same time as the other installments just released; all contain the occasional typo or two, but this one looks like it was one of the rejects of those infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters.

If I had to guess, I'd say it was scanned and OCRd and then left absolutely untouched by human hands. For example, nearly every time the word 'time' appears, it's rendered as 'lime'. As entertaining as it is to hear that a character 'had a hard lime', it rather detracts from the story if you have to stop and try to figure the text out like a riddle every fourth or fifth paragraph. Absolutely inexcusable, and virtually unreadable.

Look, I get it. Publishers hate ebooks, and particularly hate releasing digital versions of older books. They're offering them under duress in an attempt to curb ebook piracy, and they just don't care. But here's a suggestion: if you really want to curb piracy, you really ought to aim for offering products that are at least as high quality as what the pirates are offering.

I would suggest HarperCollins should be ashamed, but they clearly have no shame.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maupin's Magical San Francisco, May 5, 2006
Mrs. Madrigal and her team of tenants continue to reveal the wacky and zany "only in San Francisco" adventures on Barbery Lane. If New York was the haven for the Mid-West "oddballs" ... San Francisco was the paradise for every "oddball" in the world. Psychedelic without apology, rebellious with a cause, exerpimental without limit, Tales of the City's Babycakes are yet another chapter in the social commentary of the most beautiful and most "dancing to the beat of their own drum" city in the world.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful journey goes abroad, October 25, 2000
Reading the 'Tales of the City'-Series was such a wonderful experience I could easily repeat it as much as I could. Maupin's style is so great and terrific, it's strange I hadn't heard of him that much, before I read it.
The characters are surely some of the best ones ever created in literary history. The developement of the storyline is so surprising and unexpectable it's breath-taking. The twists and turns are so effective, because you seem to know the characters so well, and never had thought... well, you have to explore the secrets by yourself. I have never seen such a developement of characters. The same persons are totally different in the last book than in the first one. It's great.
I won't rate every book differently, although they are very different. But they are so great alltogether and so well-connected it's hard to tell them apart.
This is wonderful stuff!
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Babycakes (Tales of the City Series)
Babycakes (Tales of the City Series) by Armistead Maupin (Paperback - January 7, 1994)
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