Book Review – Baby Names Made Easy by Amanda Elizabeth Barden

Baby Names Made Easy: The complete reverse-dictionary of baby names

Amanda Elizabeth Barden

Paperback

2009

Okay, so I got this book for purposes of writing and just because it was different.

The book is a really thorough book of baby names, meanings, related names, etc.  I loved that it even gave origin for related names in the additional list.  I’ve honestly never seen one where the names were this thorough.

The problem is that it was missing a lot of the things that I expect to see from baby naming books.  First of all, the beginning of the book, where you usually get baby naming tips was more a personal letter of why Amanda liked names so much and decided to make a book of her own, and the only tip was a suggestion of hers to throw convention out the window and instead of using sound-alike names (because people still name their kids Jerry, Terry and Larry; ahem), give them names with the same meaning, like Violet, Geneva and Oliver, which are all plants, tress and things that grow.

Honestly, this book is useless.  Maybe it’s interesting to see names that group together, but some of the several dozen categories have names that I wouldn’t saddle on a goldfish.  For instance, the mercy and forgiveness category – Bethesda, Carita, Charity, Clemencia, Clementine, Dara, Daya, Kai, Karuna, Maharene, Mercedes, Mercy, Mileta, Ruth, Sameh, Venetia and Venice for girls, Atif, Clement, Fordel, Kai, Kelmen, Miles, Milo, Rachman, Rafat, Rahim, Ransom, Rauf and Shafiq for boys.  That’s it, that’s the whole category.  Over half of which are so uncommon that my spellcheck is convinced I’ve spelled them wrong.   And really, does anyone know anyone who has sat around going “lets name all our kids after candy” (aside from the nicknames that Ashley Judd’s character’s kids had in ‘Where The Heart Is.’) who could use a book like this?

You can’t find a name you like and see similar names without looking through the back index and then going on to look them up in random places in the book.  So you can’t sit there and go “Okay, I want to call my son Will, what names could that be short for…?” without then going to eleven different pages to get meanings.

I’ll give her that she did her research.

But for usability, I’m giving this book a 2/5 and taking it back for something different.

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