This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
REVIEWED BY JULES ABSALOM
Every new mother has a story to tell – and this is Jane de la Rochefoucault’s. It’s a story that contains all the familiar yet magical landmarks of feeding, teething, toddling, and measuring stuff in and out of Tupperware. But, as an expat living in Paris, Jane also faces some challenges they never mention in the handbooks. Such as, how to juggle a new baby with the demands of an aristocratic husband, a competitive nursing cycle, an artisan plumber, and a formidably French (and possibly law-breaking) mother-in-law…Swiftly plotted, linguistically playful and sparkling with wit, The baby of Belleville will draw you into its unique imaginative universe and make you reluctant to leave.
Right from the beginning, I found the baby of Belleville a real struggle to get into and I really wanted to put it aside more than once. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t that much I liked about this book, some of the descriptions of Belleville were great and beautifully written. However, the language was on several occasions throughout the novel jarring and it didn’t have the best flow to it. I also wasn’t entirely convinced by the plot, it seemed a bit scattered and at times I found it hard to follow, at points it felt more like a collection of scenes than one story.
From the very little I know about the author I believe that she lives a very similar life to that of the main character and I could imagine that a lot of the book would be based on first time experiences of a new mother. I felt like it just didn’t all mesh well into a story, and on occasion I thought that it sounded a bit like a rant and to me it wasn’t all that funny. I found it hard to really sympathise or connect with the characters, they seemed a bit self absorbed and in certain respects they were quite stereotypical and dull.
Sadly, the baby of Belleville is not a book that I would recommend. I think the thing that I liked most about it was its gorgeous cover, but sadly not all of what was inside.
Although this book wasn’t for me a first time mother or an expat living in France might glean more from The baby of Belleville than I did.
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