Book Review: Invasion Of The Baby Daddy
by John Bell
Publication Date: Dec 20, 2009
List Price: $18.00
Format: Paperback, 125 pages
Imprint: RiverHouse Publishing
Publisher: RiverHouse Publishing
Parent Company: RiverHouse Publishing
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Book Reviewed by Emanuel Carpenter
In the debut novel "Invasion of the Baby Daddy," debut author Dr. John Bell tells of the personal relationship struggles of protagonist Mark Sands. Though Sands is a well-mannered, God-fearing, and well-educated black man, his shyness and a lack of available women make finding his soul mate a challenge. The only women he seems to attract are the ones who already have children, and worst yet a "baby daddy" in their lives. That all changes one Sunday during a church visit when he meets the lovely Rachel and makes an instant connection. But as they say, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
As it turns out, Rachel reveals to Mark that she is in the first trimester of a pregnancy. The startling revelation causes the baby momma-magnet to wonder if he can fall in love with a woman who is already with child, especially one who still has a baby daddy in her life, Evan Chandler. To make matters worse, Mark and Rachel live miles apart and must develop their new relationship over the phone.
Over a year later, after Rachel gives birth, she and Mark decide to get married. But what should be the happiest times of their lives catapults into the most miserable. What follows is a test of their relationship that includes lies, tragedy, a bitter custody battle, and a thorn in their sides that just won't go away: the baby daddy. But is love strong enough to withstand even the most trying times? The answer may surprise you.
Dr. John Bell's novel is meant to be a warning for people looking to maintain a relationship with someone who may have an undesirable past getting in the way. You can certainly see where he is going with that idea, and for that he should be commended. In fact, the final pages give readers ten pearls of wisdom for dating a man or woman with a child. I even found myself nodding when the character discussed the challenges of maintaining a long distance relationship during times of war being a Gulf War veteran who witnessed the disintegration of relationships during wartime right before my eyes.
However, let's not kid ourselves. This book is not going to win any awards. It reads like a personal journal with court documents thrown in. This writing style may not please every reader. If this is truly fiction, it lacks sufficient dialogue and character development and the first-person narrative can get dull very fast. It could use a tighter edit too. And the storyline, which suggests there are not enough eligible black professional women for black professional men, goes against the facts that there are 18 available African American women to one African American man in this country.
But as nonfiction with names and locations changed to protect the innocent (which is what I suspect is happening here), this man's journey through relationship woes, meaningless sex, and eventually love is something many people will be able to identify with. "Invasion of the Baby Daddy" may just serve as a spark to get the conversation going about how to create meaningful and lasting relationships with people who already have children. Perhaps Dr. Bell is on to something.