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The Baby Group - Rowan Coleman

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Rowan Coleman

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    5 Reviews
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      23.07.2011 19:29

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      A humorous and engaging story - just persevere with the beginning!

      As a fan of 'chicklit', I was struggling after reaching the end of the Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella books. After a little research, I discovered Rowan Coleman. I purchased 4 of her books: and soon found that I couldn't put them down. 'The Baby Group' was the third of her books that I read - and perhaps was a little slower to get into than the previous 2. However, once the characters were fully introduced and the story picked up, it became clear that the tale was sassy, sexy and engaging.
      Without spoiling the story, Natalie (a 'girl-about-town' independent woman) discovers that she's pregnant after a one night stand. The story follows her journey to find love and friendships - with many hurdles along the way. In addition, the tale also delves into the lives of her new found friends - the baby group members.
      All in all, a humorous and heart-warming tale with engaging and vulnerable characters that fully envelops the reader.

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      13.09.2010 19:28
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      An OK read but don't expect to be challenged

      This is a review of the book 'The Baby Group' by Rowan Coleman. Bought for me by my Mum in view of my current pregnancy, she thought I'd enjoy it.

      The book is about racy lingerie-company owner Natalie who winds up pregnant after a whirlwind weekend-long romance. She quickly finds herself as a single mother (but well off) without any friends or family for support. She puts herself out of her comfort zone and joins some groups to try and meet other mothers and is pleasantly surprised by the support group she finds in her local neighbourhood.

      Whilst I found this a pleasant read and the storyline was pretty good, I didn't feel particularly challenged by the content and quickly guessed the outcome of the book.

      I would look out for further books by this author but wouldn't want to read them back to back. As a new mum-to-be I suppose I had a vested interest in reading this book and you can learn ways of doing certain things too so it wasn't too bad for me.

      What I liked best about the book was the gritty nature of Natalie's character, although she's a bit like she is on heat, fancying her electrician and having to compete with her mum for his affection!

      The worst bit for me was the character of Natalie's mum who came across as pretty bad and not a good role model but it did add an extra dimension to the book so she served a useful purpose.

      Weirdly, I found Natalie's dedication to Jamaican ginger cake a bit odd (it's not that good is it?) but she quickly makes it a tradition of the group to eat cake when they meet. I hope I don't get into that habit when I'm a mum!

      Themes in the book include: family, friendship, infidelity and relationship issues, money, property, renovation, romance, travel and work. So all in all a good mix of subjects.

      The other members of the group are all different types and characters so it does make quite colourful reading. I would recommend this book to other parents and mums to be but probably not if children aren't an interest in your life, you'd probably find all the talk of nappies and prams quite tedious!

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        06.09.2008 11:40
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        a very well written book

        I read this book after enjoying Rowan Colemans 'accidental husband', i saw this on amazon for fairly cheap - £5.49 so thought id give it a go, yet unsure whether i would enjoy it or not.

        There are 6 memers to the baby group, all completely different characters which seem somewhat thrown together... almost as though you'd never asociate them with each other in a million years, howeer the contrasts of the different characters worked wonderfully and although it takes a bit of time to get to know each of the characters it becomes a really enjoyable read once you do.

        THe front cover suggests the book is about babies, but instead it is about this group of people that the only thing they have in commoon is the fact they have babies, the story itself is about the members individual dramas in each of their lives. I hardly put this book down once i started reading it, I prefered this bok to 'the accidental husband' as i found it less predictable due to the twists incorporated

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          18.08.2007 23:04
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          Great book which will be understood well by all mums!

          I had read a previous novel by Rowan Coleman and really enjoyed it, so when I saw this one in a bookshop, I was quite sure that I would enjoy it so I decided to buy it. Her other book was about children and babies, and this one obviously is so Rowan Coleman obviousy enjoys writing about the topic of babies!

          This book has a nice striking pink cover, with the title "The Baby Group" across the middle of the book, with the word BABY in bubble letters, so it stands out. The authors name is across the top in blue writing, and there are a couple of illustrations on the front, but not awfully big so as not to take away from the title and information on the cover.

          The main jist of the story is that we are introduced to the main character who is Natalie, a young successful business woman who falls pregnant after a fling with a handsome man. She keeps the baby and decides to raise him on her own, while her mother still thinks she is travelling in China! Natalie is embarrassed about being a single parent, so takes it upon herself to invent a husband who works in Italy, but the story gets harder and harder to keep up.... with hilarious results! She doesn't have any friends with children, and she realises that she needs to get out with her newborn son more but doesn't know where to start, much like most new mums.

          By having some work done at her house, she meets her first "mummy" friend, a 16 year old girl who is wiser than her years let on. It makes Natalie realise that she needs some friends, and attends a baby class where she meets another mum. The group of friends continues to grow, even including a stay-at-home dad, a nice modern inclusion! There are a wide range of characters from a teenage mum Jess, a single mum who is Natalie, a SAHD; Steve and an experienced mum whose life starts to fall apart around her; Meg. The book is very well written, and the variety of characters makes for interesting reading and it is nice to see different types of people coming together with a similar interest.

          I could identify with the character of Jess, the 16 year old mum. She says that she feels people will think she is a bad mum because she had a baby young, and some of the looks I get in town say that too! But I felt sad when the book described Jess' relationship with her mum, and made me realise that I am lucky to have a close relationship with my mum.

          I found the book very easy to get into, and once I had started, I didn't want to stop! It was funny, yet sad in places, and you could completely empathise with all of the characters, particularly Meg, the experienced mum of 4 whose life falls apart when her marriage dissolves. They were all very believable characters, and it was easy to like all of them, even Frances, the clean-obssessive! She is clearly the character we are supposed to sympathise with because of the way she is written, but I could see past the hard text and outer sheel Coleman had made for her and you can see the shy retiring lady outside the hard outer!

          This book will appeal to anyone who likes a nice novel about families and relationships, as this is the thread which is running through the entire book. As I mentioned, it is well written, and the relationships between the characters really develops and deepens. Coleman is a great author of relationships, the ones in this book are fantastic, and this was also something I picked up in her previous novel I read.

          Rowan Coleman is a talented writer, and I look forward to her future books if they are to be anything like this one! A talented writer who I am sure will be around for a while, but perhaps it might be nice to see her write about something other than babies and children!

          This is published by Arrow Books, and the ISBN is 978-0099492542. The book contains 416 pages.

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            01.06.2007 14:58
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            A really good read that will make you laugh and cry!

            In my opinion, Rowan Coleman is one of the best modern fiction writers around today. She first came to prominence in 2002 when her first book 'Growing Up Twice' which I thought was an excellent first novel. I have been a big fan ever since and have thoroughly enjoyed all her subsequent novels. 'The Baby Group' is her latest offering, and like all the others, it is written with great insight and perception that shows that she clearly understands what it is to be a woman in the 21st century!

            'The Baby Group', as you might guess from the title is about a group of mums (and one dad!) who all meet and form a bond through looking after their young babies. For most people who have had babies the unique group that you form with other expectant parents, either through the NCT or local surgeries, is often a lifeline and a mutual support group like no other. I know my own experience of belonging to an ante-natal group (which later became post-natal) was very important to me, and one of the reasons why I was so looking forward to reading this book.

            There are six parents in the baby group. Although their backgrounds and lifestyles are vastly different they can also identify with each other through their babies. When they first meet up it is with the purpose of attending activities to gether like baby gym, singing and swimming. As time goes on though, they learn more and more about each other and are able to support each other through real crises!

            The main character in the book is Natalie, who up until the point of giving birth to Freddie was a dedicated career and single woman. It was during a whirlwind romance that her son was conceived, but as the father never got in touch again she is faced with the prospect of single motherhood - which she takes in her stride, but can't quite admit this to the rest of the group so she invents a pretend husband working in Dubai! The other members of the group include Jess, who is understandably very nervous over the health of her son after having lost babies in the past. Then there is Meg who with four children is definitely the most experienced and her rather annoying sister-in law Frances who cannot bear mess and lack of order (quite difficult when you have a new born baby!) Steve is a house husband while his wife works, and the youngest of the group is sixteen year old Tiffany who is desperately trying to get her parents to accept her relationship and her baby.

            So you can see, as often is the case in real life, that it is a very diverse set of people who have come together to form the baby group. As the novel unfolds there are very funny moments as the group take on some of the baby activities, but also some very poignant ones too such as a straying husband and a sick baby. Throughout the book, Natalie is also struggling about what to do about Freddie's father. Does she want to seek him out for the sake of Freddie or is it still too painful to think about meeting the man who let her down so badly?

            This was the sort of book that I just wanted to keep on reading. I could identify with a lot of the storylines especially with not so long ago having been a new mum myself. I felt that all the characters were really thoughtfully developed and I could identify with all of them to varying degrees. I always think that a novel is successful if you start to care about the characters - I certainly did with these characters so to my mind it is very successful.

            Rowan Coleman seems to be very adept at writing about relationships and there were a lot of different ones in this story. There were the mothers' relationships with their babies, but also with their own partners and parents. Best of all though was the way the relationships developed within the group as they moved from virtual strangers to true friends!

            There are times in this book when you will want to laugh out loud, and there will be other times when you will be close to tears. There are just over 400 pages and never a dull page at all. So my recommendation would be to go out and get this book if you want a really good read, especially if you are expecting a baby or are part of a group now!

            'The Baby Group' is published by Arrow Books and the paperback version has a RRP of £6.99.

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          • Product Details

            Meet The Baby Group: Natalie ran her own design company until baby Freddie unexpectedly came along. Now the capable person she once was is trapped inside a crazy woman's body, longing for just one decent night's sleep and words of more than one syllable. Meg is onto her fourth child but still feels she has to take notes. Meg's sister-in-law Frances organises her little boy like he's a private in the army, but underneath her prickly facade she longs for the kind of friendships others seem to find so easy. Former career girl Jess sees danger lurking in every corner, doubting she'll ever be a good mother. Stay-at-home house-husband Steve is just glad to have the opportunity to spend time with his daughter. And sixteen-year-old Tiffany is the youngest - yet possibly the wisest - of them all. It's about six very different parents, and six very different lives. But when Natalie's dodgy wiring leads to a series of chance encounters they rapidly discover - through Baby Music, Baby Aerobics, coffee and more importantly cake - that there's safety in numbers. And their own unofficial baby group is formed.