Wednesday, March 14, 2007

And Baby Makes Two

And Baby Makes Two by Judy Sheehan

Jane Howe is a thirty-seven-year-old single woman living in New York City. She has what some would call a perfect life: a satisfying and well-paying job, a great apartment in Greenwich Village, good friends, and family close enough to visit, but not close enough to be involved in her daily life.

When her biological clock starts ticking, Jane realizes what is missing in her life and readers learn the reason for her childlessness and her single status. Apparently the love of Jane's life died of Lou Gehrigs Disease. Although throughout the novel, this relationship is mentioned only in passing, a part of Jane's back-story that has relatively little bearing on her current life. Jane's mother seems more affected by Jane's younger sister Sheila eloping than Jane is by the death of her fiancé. To anyone who suffered a significant loss, this is incongruous.

Jane stumbles across a reference to a group on single motherhood and, from that point on, seems propelled along a trajectory that leads to her adopting a girl from China. While Jane is supposed to be making the most important decision of her life, it never really seems like she's consciously making a decision. Jane doesn't choose to adopt from China after thoroughly investigating international adoption and the various options available to her. Someone else adopts a baby from China and it just seems right to her -- so, China it is. Yes, she faces roadblocks -- a traditional father who disapproves of her becoming a single parent, a demotion at work, delayed paperwork -- but these things end up seeming like minor hiccups in the great scheme of things. Jane's biggest problem really has nothing to do with the adoption, it has to do with a love interest, a married love interest.

Apart from Jane's love interest Peter (who is horribly indecisive, but a very realistic character because of that), And Baby Makes Two has a wide variety of strong supporting characters. There's Ray, Jane's gay best friend and "hubstitute," who despite being a stock character is probably one of the most sympathetic characters in the book; Sheila, a scattered stepmom who was disowned after the incident mentioned above; the Chinamoms, a support group of women adopting babies from China; and a mother-figure in the head of Jane's adoption agency, who turns out to be her former professor (the same one in whose class she met her fiancé).

Read my full review at Front Street Reviews...

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