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(Tales of the City #4)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  8,539 ratings  ·  264 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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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,539 ratings  ·  264 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.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vierter und bislang romanhaftester Teil der Saga, bei dem erstmals alle Handlungsstränge miteinander korrespondieren. Kernkonflikt ist der unerfüllbare Babywunsch Brians, der als einziger nichts von seiner Sterilität weiß und unter einer fiesen Kombination von Midlife-Crisis und Minderwertigkeitskomplexen leidet. Denn der einstige Bürgerrechtsanwalt ist immer noch Kellner und hat auch noch einen fiesen Kollegen an der Backe, während Mary-Anns Karriere immer steiler nach oben geht.
Gleich zu Begin
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
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americans
Im vierten Band seiner Stadtgeschichten führt Maupin die Leser ins San Francisco des Jahres 1984. Es ist die Zeit in der AIDS das alles bestimmende Thema dort ist. Daran kommt auch das Buch nicht vorbei. Denn auch die Protagonisten der Barbary Lane 28 haben ein Opfer dieser Krankheit zu beklagen. Das ist der Ausgangspunktes des Buchs. Damit durchzieht die gesamte Erzählung eine Melancholie und Trauer, die man so aus den vorangegangen Bänden nicht kannte. Trotz dieser Grundstimmung bietet aber au ...more
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
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.
Oh my heart. I had forgotten how terrible and wonderful this installment was.
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 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Blah blah homonormativity
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.
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: fiction, lgbt, romance
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
Kara Prem
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
2-1/2 stars

Babycakes starts 2 years after the third novel. It felt like a different person wrote some of the chapters right off the bat. These strange sections were very descriptive and boring without much forward motion for the characters. If I had been reading myself instead of listening to an audiobook I could have skimmed. Several of our favorite characters were not much fun and put themselves in difficult spots and made poor decisions. And the storylines were often predictable. I’m disappoi
Andrew Marshall
I originally read the 4th instalment in the Tales of the City series in the eighties and I although I've re-read the first three volumes many times, I've always skipped this one. I found the death of one of the main characters - from AIDS - too upsetting and one of the pleasures of the early books was the innocence (made sweeter by knowing what was on the horizon). Re-reading Babycakes thirty plus years later, I am struck by how well Maupin covers Michael's bereavement. Including contemporary is ...more
Ry Herman
Few writers can capture an era the way Maupin does, and his books address subjects that other people didn't get around to noticing for far too long. I expected this series to get bleaker and more somber as it moved from the heyday of the 70's to the devastating 80's. What I did not know to expect was that I would be reading the first novel to address the AIDS crisis, and the best entry in the series thus far since the first one. That's not the only thing it's about, but it's always there in the ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like you can tell time has passed in terms of what the writing showed. Still the same style, but the times changing showed.

This was going to get 5 stars, but I really wasn't a fan of the Brian-Mary Ann story in the second half. The Tales of the City books are always faintly soap opera ish but in a sort of light hearted, charming way and this just felt a bit more obnoxious and really out of character for Mary Ann (who, yes, has changed a lot from her prude days felt like too much
Slow Man
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
“It’s past your bedtime, why are you still up reading?”
“Hi Mum, I am not twelve anymore, I’m forty-four for God sake!”
“Staying up late does nothing good to your health. One needs a beauty sleep to stay young and beautiful... forever.”
“I know that, Mum.”
“As long as you are under my roof, you will abide by my rules, now back to bed and switch off that light”
“ But Mum this fourth novel from Mr Maupin is getting more and more exciting and I feel so warm in the arms of the tenants of 28 Barbary Lane,
Kevin Wilcoxon
A friend and I decided to trade some books, and he chose to loan me two of Armisted Maupin's later novels, Babycakes and Significant Others. Since I had read Maupin's first two novels about the Barbary Lane gang, it was like reuniting with old friends. Only problem, these turned out to be old friends whom I no longer care about. Especially Mary Ann. I made it through Babycakes, but returned Significant Others when the first chapter was about none other. Goodbye old friends.
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Armistead Maupin ...: Babycakes 1 2 Oct 03, 2017 11:29AM  
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huh...? 3 55 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)
“LIKE OTHER THINGS ABOUT HER, MARY ANN’S MENSTRUAL cycle was so regular that Mussolini might have included it on his train schedules.” 0 likes
“There, as usual, she found her husband asleep in the flickering light of MTV. She knelt by the sofa and laid her hand gently on his chest. “Hey,” she whispered. “Who’s it gonna be? Me or Pat Benatar?” He stirred, rubbing his eyes with the knuckles of his forefinger. “Well?” she prodded. “I’m thinking.” 0 likes
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