Buy Buy Baby by Helen MacKinven

Buy Buy Baby is the new novel by Helen MacKinven, author of Talk of the Toun which I read last year and really enjoyed. You can read my review of here: Talk of the Toun. Since then, I have met the author Helen MacKinven a couple of times and her distinctive writing voice really comes across in both books. Cranachan is quite a new publishing company who focus on “sourcing the finest, freshest writing so that we can produce books that our readers will want to devour in one sitting” – just like the dessert the company is named after. Well a busy few days meant I didn’t quite read Buy Buy Baby in one sitting but I would have been happy to do so if I’d had the time.

In Buy Buy Baby we meet Carol and Julia who, for different reasons, are both desperate to have a baby. They are both single woman and fear that time may be running out for them to be come mothers. Carol’s son died in an car accident and she cannot quite believe she is no longer a mum. Julia is a career girl, absolutely adores her young niece Holly but is hearing the biological clock ticking all too loudly. She has tried internet dating but it hasn’t quite worked out for her. When Carol meets Dan while both out dog-walking, it looks as though perhaps here is her chance for love and possibly to become a mum again. However, Julia also meets Dan and he seems rather keen on her too! Both women now seem to have the possibility of motherhood within touching distance but at what cost?

Carol was a character I felt a lot of empathy for. Her story was so sad with her son dying in that accident and she was clearly grieving so much for him. We start to realise that there is more to this than just a car accident and that somehow Carol’s ex-husband was involved. As more about what happened was revealed my heart went out to her. She had been through some awful experiences and I just wanted to give her a hug. Julia wasn’t perhaps so easy to warm initially, as she was rather nippy to use a good Scots word (rough translation: sharp tongued, a bit bad tempered). She had focussed very much on her career and always felt that her sister was the golden girl of the family. When Carol met Dan, I hoped that this was going to blossom into a romance for her. He seemed lovely – for about five minutes that is as he was soon giving Julia the same kind of chat up lines! I was reading in disbelief really at the cheek of the man especially when he puts the same proposal to both women.

Helen Mackinven has written a sharply observed novel showing so well how both these women feel as they desperately want to become mothers. There is a lot which women will identify with whether mothers or not. Anyone who has ever had a desperate desire to do something will understand why Julia and Carol were prepared to do almost anything to achieve their dreams. My heart was sinking at times as they made one poor decision after another and lied to their families and friends in their efforts to have a child. One thing in particular that Carol did had me wanting to reach into the book to give her a shake and tell her not to do it! 

Buy Buy Baby is a warm, funny and moving read which I loved. The themes of grief, domestic abuse, parenthood, dating and ticking biological clocks are brought together brilliantly. The Scots dialect made the characters feel really authentic to me. As to whether either of the women were successful in their quest to become mothers, well you’ll need to read for yourself to find out and I highly recommend that you do.

My thanks to the author and publishers Cranachan for my review copy of this book. Buy Buy Baby was published in paperback and as an e-book by Cranachan on 7th July and you can order a copy here: Buy Buy Baby

From the back of the book

Set in and around Glasgow, Buy Buy Baby is a moving and funny story of life, loss and longing.

Packed full of bitchy banter, it follows the bittersweet quest of two very different women united by the same desire – they desperately want a baby.

Carol talks to her dog, has an expensive eBay habit and relies on wine to forget she’s no longer a mum following the death of her young son.

Cheeky besom Julia is career-driven and appears to have it all. But after disastrous attempts at internet dating, she feels there is a baby-shaped hole in her life.

In steps Dan, a total charmer with a solution to their problems.

But only if they are willing to pay the price, on every level…

“Buy Buy Baby is energised by the biological clocks of its main characters, and deals with complex issues of grief, betrayal, abuse, ageing, donor anonymity and single parenthood.  A cracker of a read.” – Helen Fitzgerald

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