Wendy's Reviews > Babies, Bikes and Broads

Babies, Bikes and Broads by Cynn Chadwick
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Aug 05, 2011

it was ok

Oh dear. This is tricky because the author is a friend of a friend. Let me start by saying that despite my overall dislike of the book, something about it kept me reading.

This is the story of Cat, who returns home to Galway, NC, from Scotland to help her widower brother take care of his two kids. What she doesn't count on is her high-school crush and summer romance, Janey, also returning (from NJ). Cat harbors a grudge (20 years later) for Janey's having left her for grad school and marrying a man.

The writing is decent, but Chadwick has a habit of italicizing a lot of phrases and words to a point where it becomes distracting. There are also some editorial issues, like the two spellings of Mama - Mamma and Mama - especially toward the end of the book.

The story is really quite simple and formulaic and it would be enjoyable if the characters were not so brusque and/or contantly quoting platitudes. And the niece and nephew are obnoxious.

Most of my problem with the book, I think, comes from my political perspective. For starters, Galway must be some kind of lesbian haven to the point where it's in the south and relatively rural (or so it seems) and everyone's all accepting of everyone else. And apparently, Cat, who is around my age (41) was sleeping around with a lot of girls in high school. I wondered if she went to freaking Harvey Milk in NYC because even in relatively liberal NJ, back in the 1980s it was *not* cool to be a lesbian. Almost all the lesbians in the book are "beautiful" (as if there is only one kind of beautiful) and femme. There are fur coats, rabbits-feet good luck charms and a hunter who needs to be consulted about a Mama bear.

I think this book is actually a fantasy that attempts to populate an alternate United States with lesbians who just fit into the mainstream and it's all okay. This irritates me because while this book is fiction, it doesn't represent any kind of reality I'm aware of, and I do find it troubling that too many people regard the ability to have chilrend, whether through in vitro fertilization or adoption, and marraige, to be the pinnacle of what will constitute some kind of equality - as if being equal within a system of oppression is a good thing.

Basically this is fantasy of what some of us think life should be like for lesbians. But this vegan left-wing political dyke disagrees and is quite irritated by it. Too bad.
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