Book review: The Baby Diaries by Sam Binnie

There’s been a pregnant pause since Sam Binnie’s wry and funny debut, The Wedding Diaries, turned out to be one of last year’s best-loved chicklit novels.

She’s been busy giving birth to The Baby Diaries, her follow-up to the pre-marital adventures of Kiki Carlow and Thom Sharpe, and preparing for the real-life arrival of her third child (all in the name of research of course!) And it’s good to be able to report that both the new book and the mother-to-be cum author are doing exceedingly well.

There are no prizes for guessing that the latest chapter in the lives of the fictional husband and wife ‘double act’ sees them hurtling towards parenthood. The other good news is that the account of their journey to the labour ward is even better than their trouble-strewn path to the register office.

Whether you are expecting, not expecting, never plan to expect or expected many years ago, this is one pregnancy you won’t want to miss. Full of her now trademark sardonic humour and knockabout fun plotlines, The Baby Diaries still offers up moments of subtle poignancy and gritty reality.

After all, having a baby is not all laughs... as Kiki and Thom soon discover.

Of course, it should never have happened so soon. Kiki has hardly come down to earth after the wedding ... in fact, she was still worrying about whether they had paid all their wedding bills and said all their thankyous when she saw the giant glowing plus sign on her pregnancy testing kit.

They both wanted kids but why did it have to happen just now, particularly as Kiki has just got her hard-earned promotion at Polka Dot Books and Tom has started his mind-bogglingly poorly paid job as a trainee English teacher.

Thom, ever the optimist, is thrilled to be expecting a ‘honeymoon baby’ and can’t wait to hear the patter of tiny feet. Kiki, on the other hand, considers that getting pregnant so soon is ‘tacky’ and worries that she’ll be the only one of her friends changing her name to ‘Mummy.’

But this is just the beginning. There’s a lot to get through now they are going to be parents... Kiki’s To Do List includes ‘Grow baby, Have baby, Raise baby’ on it, and the minefield of an ever-expanding waistline, nausea, heartburn and stretchmarks has yet to be negotiated.

There are also the not inconsiderable hurdles of her nightmare absent boss, being stalked by her also pregnant childhood ‘friend’ Annie and an army of London’s Smug Mothers who seem far more grown up than Kiki.

There are moments of hope, like the realisation that this isn’t the Seventies and she won’t have to wear huge frilly tents and give up her job, but will she survive this pregnancy and has the life she loved gone forever?

Witty dialogue, clever plotlines which include hilarious script-style exchanges, diary entries and literary allusions, add an extra sparkle to Binnie’s quirky, warm and enchanting story.

Nine months of drama and hours of reading fun...

(Avon, paperback, £6.99)