Inder's Reviews > Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence

Baby Love by Rebecca Walker
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 18, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: 21st-century, memoir, parenting, read-2009, parenting-2009
Read in June, 2009

This book is almost unbearable. Rebecca Walker tries to be honest and funny, but comes off as whiny, self-indulgent, bitchy, and stereotypically Berkeley (affluent, privileged, obsessed with organic food, alternative medicine, and Tibetan Buddhism). She claims to value motherhood, but she flames her own mother, the author Alice Walker, at every possible opportunity. She claims to be a feminist, but rants that every woman should become a mother. She claims that her rather intense experience of motherhood (she says she could "easily" kill someone to protect her child) is universal, and implies that anyone who doesn't feel this intensity isn't a good mother. While pregnant, she falls into traditional gender roles (she feels her husband is supposed to "protect" her) and claims that this is biological. Finally, the unnuanced generalizations about "Generation X" women and our supposed ambivalence towards motherhood made me want to shake the author and yell, "Speak for yourself!"

The subtitle of the book is "Choosing Motherhood after a Lifetime of Ambivalence," but not only is Rebecca Walker never for a second ambivalent about motherhood (she states she has always wanted to have a baby), she essentially preaches that women are incomplete without it. The book is noticeably lacking in compassion towards women who make different choices in life than she has (including her mother). Especially shocking to me was her assertion that it is not possible to love adopted or step children as much as biological children. Um, what the fuck?

The book obviously says a lot more about Rebecca Walker's hang-ups than it does about women, motherhood, or a whole generation. If she had honestly addressed these hang-ups, instead of constantly drawing broad generalizations from them, the book might not have been so unbelievably terrible.

Her birth experience was the one aspect of the book that felt honest - probably because giving birth is so inherently humbling, it takes everyone down a few notches, and for those two pages, she was incapable of arrogance. Unfortunately, it didn't last.
14 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Baby Love.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

06/19/2009 page 118
52.68% "Wow, just as whiny and annoying as the reviews suggest."
05/16/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Anne (new)

Anne You are such a trooper. I hope it was a fast read, at least.

Inder Ha. Yeah, wouldn't have made it otherwise. Although it was kind of train-wreck like.

message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda I heard Rebecca Walker in an interview that was less annoying than it sounds like this book was. She spoke about her estrangement with her mother in a way that just made me incredibly sad. I remember hearing Alice Walker speak once, and she interrupted her presentation to say something like, "where's my daughter, I thought she was here," with such longing-- and I heard Rebecca call out, "I'm here, mom." It was only then that Alice could go on with her talk. I hope that Rebecca can come to the realization that she was deeply, if imperfectly, loved, before it's too late in this life to reconcile.

Inder Sadly, I think things really deteriorated around the time Baby Love was published - see

message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda Interesting article... I remember (perhaps wrongly) that Rebecca Walker said things went sour over her memoir about growing up, though clearly they've gotten worse since then. So sad.

back to top