I hate leaving bad reviews for books, because I know that most authors put a lot of time, love, and energy into writing them. That being said, The Baby by Sylvia Norman was one of the worst things I have ever read. First off, it is not truly a book like I was expecting. It is a very short story that only took me a few minutes to read. It is hard to say too much about it due to the length of the story, but I will do my best.
I am not sure what I expected from this book. Based on the description of it, I thought that perhaps it would be a really neat idea for a horror story or even a movie–an evil baby who pretends to be normal, but is really a monster or a demon on the inside. There is some potential there, and that sort of story could certainly be interesting. Another thought was that this story might tackle the very serious and damaging effects of postpartum depression. Many women who suffer from this will have feelings of anxiety, depression, and a feeling that their baby is just somehow not right. What would appear to be a horror story on the outside could, in fact, simply be symptoms of a depressed new mother and make for a fantastic book.
That is the closest thing to what I thought I was getting with this “book” and it’s something that I think would have made both an interesting read and an important one since so many women suffer from it. Unfortunately I was wrong.
This story involves a mother named Patricia who was pregnant with twins and lost one during labor. She can’t feel close to the surviving baby Bernard, and blames him for his brother’s death. She begins to hear him talking and he appears to her as a disfigured old man at times. Everyone thinks she must be depressed over the death of her other baby, but she feels that there is something more going on. They check her into a hospital after claiming that she tried to kill herself, though she has no memory of it. Later, once she comes home, she faces her “evil baby” head on and confronts him, asking him what he wants from her.
This is when the story truly gets horrifying. The baby begins to break apart as if he is being aborted at full term. His legs come off, his arms come off, pieces of him come off. He tells his mother that this is what happened to him when she was pregnant before and had an abortion. She was never really pregnant with twins… there was only one baby this time around and he did not die. Instead, she was unconscious and dreamed the whole thing up, including the fact that she had had twins. The evil baby Bernard is in fact the baby that she had aborted a long time ago when she didn’t’ want to have a child, and he is coming back to haunt her because of it.
At the very end of the book, Patricia wakes up from her dream to find that she does in fact have a healthy happy baby (the same one she thought had died in the beginning of the book) and she thanks little Bernard for allowing her to come to terms with his “murder”. She is happy and relieved to realize that all of this was just a dream, and she regrets killing Bernard and realizes that she loves him even though she killed him. Then suddenly the old, disfigured Bernard appears to her and devours her alive (for real this time) as punishment for her sins. The final line of the book says, “The Beginning” instead of “The End.” I’m still trying to puzzle out the author’s choice of words there.
My advice is to not touch this book with a 10 foot pole. I felt cheated for wasting even a few minutes of my time on a story that was so very misleading, and I was disgusted with the entire thing. The message to readers is clear: this author does not believe in abortion and she believes that anyone who has an abortion deserves to die horribly. She does not believe in forgiveness. She also makes no distinction between eliminating a cluster of cells vs. killing a full grown baby. I would never recommend this book – or this author – to anyone. It was badly written and in poor taste all around.
Holly has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science and owns a small business with her husband selling fleece and hand-spun yarn. When she is not spinning yarn, she does freelance work as a graphic design artist and is highly involved in animal rescue.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sylvia Norman. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.