The Fat Ladies' Club: The Indispensible Real World Guide to Pregnancy

4 / 5 (Review rating for The Fat Ladies' Club: The Indispensible Real World Guide to Pregnancy
Score: 4 / 5

Penguin Books



Good Points:
  • Frank, down-to-earth and witty.
  • Covers everyday aspects of pregnancy.
Bad Points:
  • Hard to believe, but men are the butt of several jokes.
  • Critical of those who don't fit into their clique.
The Fat Ladies' Club: The Indispensible Real World Guide to Pregnancy

Verdict: Five varied accounts of the build-up to birth that provide both entertainment and support.

We start with an introduction from each of five ladies from different backgrounds who met at ante-natal classes and became strong friends. They share the trials and tribulations of their pregnancies and the relaxed and gossipy style in which they write welcomes you into their club.

It is stated right at the beginning that this is not a book full of facts and figures, nor is it a textbook on the science of childbirth (read "A Child Is Born" for that). Instead, this is effectively an informative chat covering the everyday concerns of a mum-to-be, with each of our Fat Ladies telling personal tales and relaying their experiences. They are open and humourous in doing this, although I couldn't help feel a sense of competitiveness as to who could produce the most witty anecdotes. Consequently - and predictably - nearly everything involving the dads-to-be has a patronising tone and other reviewers have also found a certain arrogance in the way the ladies mock people outside their group, notably the other women in those ante-natal classes. Even so, these negative points shouldn't detract from what is simply an honest depiction of the feelings and emotions leading up to a life-changing event. The fact that they are real people makes them easier to visualise and their diaries more appealing. You can even catch up on how things went after their births in the sequel, "Facing the First Five Years".

It's enjoyable (even for blokes), easy to read and easier to associate with than all those "I nearly died" birth stories so beloved of baby magazines. Between them, the five friends have a variety of personalities and traits making at least one of them easy to identify with for the majority of mums-to-be. It would make a good present when pregnancy is starting to take it's toll and for extra brownie points, have a box of tissues handy for the ending.