Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Baby Planner by Josie Brown Review

The Baby Planner
From Goodreads: The Nanny Diaries meets The Wedding Planner in this smart, dishy novel from the author of Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives—featuring a woman who runs San Francisco’s premier baby planning company and the mommies-to-be who seek out her services.

Katie Johnson may make her living consulting with new moms on the latest greatest baby gadgets no parent should be without, or which mommy meet-ups are the most socially desirable, or whether melon truly is the new black, but the success of her marriage to her husband, Alex, depends on controlling her own urges toward motherhood.

He's adamant that they stay childless. Sure, Katie understands that he's upset over the fact that his out-of-town ex-wife rarely lets him see their ten-year-old son, Peter. But living vicariously through her anxious clients and her twin sisters' precocious children only makes Katie resent his stance more deeply.

While helping a new client—Seth Harris, a high tech entrepreneur who must raise Sadie, his newborn daughter, as a single parent after the tragic death of his wife in childbirth—maneuver the bittersweet journey from mourning husband and reticent father to loving dad, Katie’s own ideals about love, marriage, and motherhood are put to the test as she learns ones very important lesson about family: How we nurture is the true nature of love.

My take: This is just a fun and quick read.  I couldn't help but like the protagonist, Katie, who seemed to always have the right answer to assuage any doubts for moms, dads, and critics alike.  The story is more complex than The Wedding Planner and provides some unexpected twists and turns which upped my rating by a star.  Certainly, there is predictability to a large degree but adding in a couple of surprises gave it depth where it wouldn't have had it.

I also really enjoyed the clever segue Katie's circumstances provided to become a Baby Planner.  From testing baby products for safety infractions to becoming unemployed but willing to overachieve in helping one of her sisters plan for her new pregnancy, the transition is seamless and not at all forced.  Most definitely enjoyed the web design interaction although saw it coming.

Cute read but not clean.  Katie is trying to get pregnant.  There are a number of seduction scenes where Katie uses all everything at her disposal to seduce her husband.  It is detailed.  Very.

3.5 stars

Since posting my review on Goodreads, Josie Brown, the awesome author, took the time to comment.  I wonder if authors know how incredibly geeky book bloggers are and by responding personally makes us feel like we have a backstage pass to REO Speedwagon in 1985.  Which I totally did, by the way.  Except it was 2007 and I was 41 and not 18.  Because I'm totally geeky like that.  And Heidi had connections.

So Josie, my Juice Newton-ish cool author, said this:
Thanks, Nancy, for taking time with my novel, THE BABY PLANNER. It is always gratifying to read a review in which the critic appreciates your heroine's emotional layers, and I had to write you and thank you for that. 

As you can imagine, the hardest part for me was Katie's desperation to have a child. I was very lucky that my husband and I were in sync regarding the topic of having children. Of course I thought, "Well, that's when and why most people get married, because they're ready for this next part of the journey in their lives together..." 

To find out this is not always so made me sad. The research for this book opened my eyes as to the frustrations some wives have when they are ready for children--but their spouses aren't. Usually the reasons are never expressed, even at the juncture when she is begging for his consideration. I found so many groups and loops of women discussing conception sabotage -- both his, and hers (!!!) and I thought: "I HAVE to write this into the book..." 

It's always a challenge to create a flawed heroine who holds readers' sympathies as well. Your picking up on that made my day. 

Please feel free to enter -- and invite your readers to enter -- my contest for a $100 gift to their favorite bookstore.

Also, I'm always available for interviews and guest blogging. 

Warmest regards, 

Josie Brown
For a chance to read your very own copy, post your very own review on Goodreads and become Josie's second best BFF (first place is already taken, obviously), fill out the form below because Simon and Schuster wants you to have this book.


Amy said...

I was gonna click the option that said you were totally awesome but I had to click 'reo who' because I have no idea who they are. I skipped the 80s even though I was born in the 70s. Sorry.

Crystal said...

Great review (and I do think you are totally awesome and I love REO Speedwagon).

I really want to read this book. I have the same geeky fangirl reactions when authors comment on my reviews. It just makes you feel special!

Brenda said...

Thanks for the contest! I would really love to read the book! I checked REO Speedwagon, yes I know who they are!

dancealert at aol dot com

Cheryl F. said...

I got to see REO Speedwagon up close and personal last year too :)

Josie Brown, said...

LOL! Nancy, doll, this post made me laugh out loud!

First off, thanks for the Juice-y comparison. I'm totally honored.

Secondly, REO? Awesome! One of my first gigs out of college was in radio. My BFF worked in the record industry. Oh, the backstage tales we could tell ( observers, NOT groupies, of course...would have lost our industry cool).

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I'll enjoy reading your future reviews, for sure.

-- Josie Brown

librarypat said...

I'll have to look for this book. Sounds like a good change of pace from what I have been reading.