- Hardcover: 248 pages
- Publisher: Permanent Press (June 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579621511
- ISBN-13: 978-1579621513
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,778,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Baby Lottery Hardcover – June 30, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Despite its whimsical title, the tone of Trueblood's debut novel is anything but lighthearted. Rapidly approaching 40, five college friends find their bonds sorely tested when Charlotte, an alcoholic, opts for an abortion rather than facing the wrath of her happily child-free husband. Jean, a former social worker whose infertility has resulted in the end of her marriage, offers to adopt, to no avail. As the reactions of all are registered in turn (including proudly single Tasi), there are revelations of past abortions. But Charlotte is a cipher, as are the secondary male characters. And when OB nurse Nan, a married mother of two, reflects on women's reproductive history, or when Virginia muses at length about the difficulties of being a mother-writer, the book borders on Women's Studies 101.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Divorce, kids, careers, boyfriends, finding yourself—Trueblood's debut novel announces itself early on as mainstream women's fiction. Five college friends are nearing 40, and their lives haven't turned out exactly as planned. Virginia, recently separated, loves her son but is glad he is with Dad a couple evenings a week so that she can return to that unfinished novel. Jean couldn't have children, and now her ex has just announced that his new wife had a baby. Nan is a mom and an OB nurse who has seen her fair share of problem deliveries. Tasi is a career woman without kids. When Charlotte, the fifth in the group, drops the bomb that she has decided to have an abortion—in a latish stage of pregnancy—each friend reacts differently. The overarching message here is that no one woman deals with questions of identity and fertility in the same way, and though the reader might feel a bit beaten over the head with that message, Trueblood's sympathetic juggling between the various points of view proves an effective way of showing that simple formulas don't work for today's woman. Wilkens, Mary Frances
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The characters are fascinating, the situations realistic, and the supporting characters are all appropriately self-motivated and interesting. The problem? The method of storytelling.
Each chapter is written in third-person limited, with the lead character's name as a subtitle. This scattershot of perspectives can be effective, but the author spends most of her narration talking about what each character thinks, how she feels and what she does - usually something solitary, like laundry, attempting to write a novel or washing up for a medical procedure. Easily half of the novel, and probably more, has a single character alone with her thoughts and tasks that feel like they exist simply to provide a venue for this introspection. The women think about their futures, their thoughts on abortion and motherhood, the role of feminism and their friends. The book feels full of quotes that a woman's study program would love and indeed are beautiful and insightful, but the author tells her story through eavesdropping on thought. Nothing happens, but plenty is thought about: even a potentially dramatic trip to an abortion hospital is presented to the reader as a passing memory.
This author has a great mind for language and for stories, and I hope that she is able to combine them in her next novel to write a story that rises above this good but not great novel.
From the beginning THE BABY LOTTERY by Kathryn Trueblood tackles tough issues. In a Tell It Like It Is sorta writing style. Each woman has a different perspective. Different opinion. And let me be the first to tell you they clash. This is a hot topic, why wouldn't it mimic real life?
Kathryn doesn't back down one bit from the heart of the matter on all accounts. Even including the pasts of every character, down the the truth of it all--they've shared one common element. Abortion. And now it's finding its way back into their lives again. Riveting commentary. Heartbreaking choices. And real life women adorn the pages of the book. And keep you reading until the end.
There is a controversy of sorts at the center of this novel, one that affects the five friends and intelligent readers alike. Strict followers of religious dogma may throw up their blinders once they discover this central conflict, but everybody else will find a thoughtful, well-balanced discussion of a very difficult subject. And to Trueblood's great credit, we don't just learn about this subject by direct discussion, but also by comparing the controversial figure's actions to the lives of the other women who have chosen different paths.
I see that some of the tags here identify the book as chick lit, christian fiction and even "christian chick lit," but I think all of those categories are far too narrow. Trueblood's treatment of her characters and their lives are far too balanced and dig far too deep to be so easily labeled. As a man venturing into such a presumably feminine novel, I was very impressed to find the same balanced, thought-provoking treatment of the male characters, rather than the usual burping, toenail-picking, hairy butt-scratching caricatures that other, lazier authors would resort to.
In short, these are all real people with real dilemmas, and Trueblood's multi-layered narrative takes you into their real lives at angles you may not have considered. I'd recommend it to any man who cares about the women in his life, or his role in their lives, or anybody feeling like they've somehow failed as a parent or a partner because they haven't been able to pull off a Norman Rockwell-like nuclear family. Despite the characters' varied approaches at life, one thing that struck me at the end of the novel was how they were all really looking for the same things, the same things that the rest of us are looking for. And Trueblood's novel shows us that there is certainly (and thankfully) more than one way to find and cherish those important things.