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(Tales of the City #4)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  9,529 ratings  ·  316 reviews
"An extended love letter to a magical San Francisco."
--New York Times Book Review

When an ordinary househusband and his ambitious wife decide to start a family, they discover there's more to making a baby then meets the eye. Help arrives in the form of a grieving gay neighbor, a visiting monarch, and the dashing young lieutenant who defects from her yacht. Bittersweet and p

Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Harper Perennial (first published March 1984)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,529 ratings  ·  316 reviews

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Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now we see where the genius of Will and Grace and Sex and the City is derived from: This incredible series does not disappoint, it's very much incapable of failing us, and I am happy to report that #4 is better still than 3. SO... This one is the best in the series THUS FAR! And speak of historic!: it's the first novel ever to make a mention of AIDS... but before that gets to be a complete black cloud it provides a background that can only be improved with color and comedy, all of which Mr. Maup ...more
Charles Eliot
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Babycakes is a far better book than its three predecessors in the Tales of the City series.

Between the previous book and Babycakes, Armistead Maupin realised that he couldn't keep writing about gay life in San Francisco as if AIDS hadn't happened. Babycakes begins shortly after the death from AIDS of one of its main characters. The book aches with the pain of that loss. It's a book about the transition from youth and innocence and adventure to adulthood, with the attendant gravity, ambiguity, s

I have never been a fan of Mary Ann. Actually I don't understand WHY everyone likes her. Doesn't matter. In this sequel she MAY be overdone.

WTF?! How someone COULD come to SUCH a STUPID idea for such a SERIOUS problem?!

But I can't help myself. The series is sooooo entertaining that I have no other option as to go on with it.
David B
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Armistead Maupin seems unable to make a plot work without relying on the most outrageous coincidences and chance meetings. So why do I enjoy this series so much? I think it’s because he so successfully communicates his love for his characters to me, so that I am actually looking forward to each unexpected encounter and unforeseeable event that turns everyone’s lives upside down. Maybe Maupin’s style of story construction is a natural outgrowth of developing as a writer in the gay subculture of S ...more
Mark Hiser
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
A poor Irish Widow, her husband having died in one of the Lanes of Edinburgh, went forth with her three children, bare of all resource, to solicit help from the Charitable Establishments of that City.

At this Charitable Establishment and then at that she was refused; referred from one to the other, helped by none; till she had exhausted them all; till her strength and heart failed her: she sank down in typhus-fever; died, and infected her Lane with fever, so that seventeen other persons died
Oh my heart. I had forgotten how terrible and wonderful this installment was.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light
I relate to the Tales of the City books a bit like I relate to Doritos. I love them. I know they aren't good for me. I consume them sparingly. And that way it seems like a real treat when I do.

I'm not sure why I picked up Babycakes when I did. Middle of the night, cold, not sleeping--it seemed a cheering thought. And indeed it was. these were (if you do not know) originally published as a serial in the SF newspaper so they are all made up of many short chapters. Tons of stuff happens. vivid, if
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
For me, this series is consistently fun. It also brings back memories of living in the San Francisco Bay Area during the time these were written as serialized columns in the newspaper. There are some things that might seem dated to other readers, and the characters may start to get old, but I continue to enjoy them. On to #5, Significant Others. ...more
This doesn’t age especially well, and I know it’s soapy, but I can’t stop reading it.

I did love Mona’s hilarious speech. “I am a simple English country dyke, and don’t you forget it.” “I will never be a lipstick lesbian. I hate this shit on my face.”
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was definitely a lot sadder than the first three... In between the Aids crisis hit and I spent several scenes crying. There is still some whimsy and absurd humorous plot lines but all in all it deals with human relationships in a very serious way and let's the reader feel all the dark sides
Natty S
Things are getting a little more melancholy at 28 Barbary Lane. Just learned that the first few books were serialized, which explains why they feel so 19th-Century. Moreover, in this book, you definitely see the influence of Dickens.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another entertaining read, I enjoyed how it all came together. Although I thought Mary Ann pretty dumb.
I liked how he began and ended the book with the same special person.
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great ending!
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Love the characters and the stories of their lives.
Nicole Gervasio
I am so sorry to have to say everything that I am about to confess in this review. I've loved Maupin until this installment, and I'm not going to stop reading the Tales of the City series. But, this one did bring me close to the point of no return.

What's wrong with it? I'm being forgiving, because I think it's inevitable in any series that an author just loses some steam-- especially once that series has been turned into a very short-lived TV version and oh, right, something as horrific as the A
Lauren Burlew
So far this has been my least favorite in the installment. It took me too long to read. However, I feel like it would translate well to TV and I would enjoy it more there.
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Armistead Maupin is a dependably entertaining storyteller.

This is the fourth in his "Tales of the City" series which began in 1976 as a serial column in the San Francisco Examiner. I read the first three -- "Tales of the City," "More Tales of the City" and "Further Tales of the City" -- before I started with goodreads when Mary Beth, a sorority sister from Purdue, living in SF sent them home with me after a visit with her.

At the time I fell in love with Maupin's storytelling style, his characte
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series keeps powering on. This one, I would say, is the most complete. By that I mean, it reads like a full concept in a way that the other ones didn't. The previous three books read more like a series of events in these really interesting people's lives. There were arcs, but they seemed incidental to just hanging with these people. Babycakes definitely feels more fully conceptualized. It starts with Queen Elizabeth landing at SFO on a raining day three months before Easter, and ends with t ...more
Dec 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, Alan Cumming was the narrator of the audio and he did a fantastic job. I loved his different voices. I also liked the writing. The descriptive quality was right up my alley. I enjoyed that part. And the humor was great, but I have to say I don't think I "got" it sometimes.

This was a light and fun read. It was hard to take the story lines seriously because they were so exaggerated. That was probably part of its charm. I think I would have liked a more serious thread included somewhere abo
Laurie –A Court of Books–
I've only read the second book and this one, so I probably have some lack of understanding, but I have to admit, I liked the 2nd one better. What I liked about it was its freshness and humor. In this one, the background is darker, Mouse (and I can understand why of course) is not as spicy as he used to be, everyone seems more depressed and the plot was less interesting.
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot lines can be preposterous, but that's part of the charm of this series and the characters are fascinating. In the audiobook, Alan Cumming voiced all the American women a little screechy and hard to differentiate, but he did a marvelous job with the British Isles inhabitants. I am eating these up like popcorn.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this on the plane to New York- so it was perfect to get into the American spirit. Despite a huge chunk of it being set in London! Good fun as usual, just when I thought I had cleverly predicted a plot ending, Maupin pulled the rug from underneath me.
David Schwan
There are fewer characters in this book than the previous ones, and the storyline has expanded to across the pond. Some interesting developments here but also what seems to be some big dangling issues which hopefully are dealt with in the next book.
Feb 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The worst so far of the series.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much improved from the previous one, even with Mary Ann turning severely irritating. Mouse breaks my heart - his storyline was especially well done.
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, fiction, 2015
The glorious return of Mona Ramsey and her reunion with Mouse! ❤️❤️
Adding a star. Age or perspective or something made this a much better read this time round. More after my Buddy Read partner & I have chatted. ...more
Stef Rozitis
The cover claims this is "debilitatingly funny" whereas my verdict is more along the lines of "mildly amusing at times". Somebody also compares him to Dickens, but I must say I don't see that at all.

The book neatly ties in a royal visit (by the queen to the USA) with the lives of a TV presenter Mary Ann and her insecure dilettante of a husband Brian (all through the book he speaks as if he us emasculated by Mary Ann but he seems to have no positive desires, intentions or ideas of his own), their
Jul 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, fiction, lgbt
Ugh. God. Why would Maupin do this to me? Really? This book was too much for me to handle. I hated it and loved it at times and I don't like that.
Some things I hated about this book: Brian doing coke. Like, really? I mean, sure, it kind of had to do with the plot, but totally could have been avoided. Also what Mary Ann did? Really? Again, this was a huge plot point, but God, it just did not work with her character! I didn't believe it, but I could see it a mile away as soon as Simon was describe
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, 2019
The TOTC book just get better and better honestly. I heard that after the 3rd book the books take on a darker tone and it was so true. Besides the sex scenes that were a tad more explicit things got DARK especially since the book mirrored the AIDS crisis that was happening at the time of the serial's publication.

It is definitely something special, hearing the beginnings of the AIDS crisis written by a gay man who faced it himself. It's really interesting, hearing the characters talk about having
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The Great America...: Babycakes - Series Buddy Read 7 11 Mar 14, 2020 04:10PM  
Armistead Maupin ...: Babycakes 1 4 Oct 03, 2017 11:29AM  
Armistead Maupin ...: Babycakes 1 5 Oct 27, 2014 06:11PM  
huh...? 3 58 Jun 24, 2012 12:20PM  

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Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam.

Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 19

Other books in the series

Tales of the City (9 books)
  • Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #1)
  • More Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #2)
  • Further Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #3)
  • Significant Others (Tales of the City, #5)
  • Sure of You (Tales of the City, #6)
  • Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City, #7)
  • Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City, #8)
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City, #9)

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