Book Review – Baby Love, by Rebecca Walker

I recently read Baby Love for my book club and wasn’t particularly thrilled with it. To be totally honest I came to this book with some preconceived notions after reading

several reviews of it. Overall I found it to be a little whiny and very self-absorbed. I was kind of fascinated to see her react to different peoples’ take on things and opinions, about her life, about parenthood in general, etc. in a very knee-jerk way – a difference of opinion almost always seems to be taken as a challenge. She’ll speak of the truth of others but utterly fail to recognize any kind of relativism in virtually any situation or statement.

There were specific moments in the book where I was taken aback at moments which were mentioned but washed over. Once she’s talking to a friend who decided not to have children. Walker quickly glosses over the fact that she’s had several major illnesses and goes on to talk about how she wishes she could tell her friend that she is wrong. For Walker, there is no room apparently for physical barriers to pregnancy. This is further exacerbated by her assertion that one can not love an adopted child as much as one’s own. Again, no acknowledgment that her truth might not be another’s – this is posited as an point of absolution. There is another moment during a birthing class she attends with her male partner, where he asks “Where’s the penis?…”, after talking about vaginas, etc. the whole class. He is apparently looking for the inherently male role in the process. It has been said in some reviews that the author comes off as narcissistic in this book – based on this exchange I’d say her partner does as well.

I’m a little concerned that the book does not come out to talk about feminism more explicitly. I feel that there is room for it. A little discussion in this vein would add some weight to an otherwise rather fluffy piece, but it does not occur. Instead we are left with a piece that looks, very much, as something that could be considered a post-feminist take on pregnancy and motherhood. I find this very, very unfortunate. The book was a disappointment.

— Review cross-posted to goodreads.

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