Book Review: Buy Buy Baby by Helen Mackinven

Buy Buy Baby

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Having read and enjoyed Helen Mackinven’s first book Talk of the Toun, reviewed here, I had positive expectations for this one. I wasn’t disappointed.

The plot is essentially a quest. It is narrated in alternate chapters by two women Carol and Julia. They are both on the same mission. They want to have a baby. But both of them are single and have given up on finding a long term partner with whom to have a family. Then a very practical solution presents itself but it comes at a cost.

Although set in a (fictional) suburb of Glasgow, with characters who speak in the local Scots dialect, this novel has widespread appeal. The characters are recognisable. Some are likeable, others not. All of them are realistically flawed.

The book could have been a very bleak read but the author uses a light touch and just enough humour, albeit some of it black, to ensure the mood and message are hopeful. Yes the loss of a child, loneliness, marital infidelity, and an unflinching portrayal of domestic violence are in there, but the main characters are most definitely not hopeless victims. They are feisty, warm and determined to help themselves. They also come across as authentic.

The other characters, too, are very well drawn as are the relationships between them. There are the ups and downs of best friendships, the rubbing along of sisters, the bond of aunt and niece. There’s the annoying, snobby neighbour and even a long-suffering dog. Carol’s boss, Isobel comes across as an absolute gem and ‘Paedo’ Pete makes quite an impression too.

I particularly liked the mothers of Carol and Julia both still very much involved in their grown-up daughters lives and both demonstrating that the love and support you offer your children is lifelong and doesn’t end when they become adults.

Yes, this is a book with motherhood in all its forms very much to the fore. And it’s a story of hope and resilience in the bleakest of situations. A most satisfying read.

Type of Read: Afternoon on the sofa, bedtime, on the commute, on holiday – this one ticks lots of suitability boxes.


Back Cover Blurb:

What price tag would you put on a baby?

Set in and around Glasgow, Buy Buy Baby is a moving and funny story of life, loss and longing. Packed full of bitchy banter, it follows the bittersweet quest of two very different women united by the same desire – they desperately want a baby.

Carol talks to her dog, has an expensive eBay habit and relies on wine to forget she’s no longer a mum following the death of her young son. Cheeky besom Julia is career-driven and appears to have it all. But after disastrous attempts at internet dating, she feels there is a baby-shaped hole in her life. In steps Dan, a total charmer with a solution to their problems.

But only if they are willing to pay the price, on every level…


Buy Buy Baby is published by Cranachan Publishing and is available in paperback and as an e-book.

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