Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: "Not My Daughter" by Barbara Delinsky

Despite the fact that Barbara Delinsky has written more than seventeen novels to date, I have to admit that I haven't read any of them. Not My Daughter was the perfect one for me to start with- not only did the story suck me in immediately (and keep me up well past my bedtime), but it felt relevant to me personally considering that I became a mother at 17.

Not My Daughter tells the story of three 17-year-old girls, all with bright futures, who make a pact to become pregnant at the same time. Their moms are best friends, and the girls decide that they would like their children to be best friends as well, hence the pregnancy pact. What the girls don't realize is that their decision to become pregnant at such a young age is going to affect more than just themselves. Susan Tate, the principal of the high school as well as the mother of Lily, one of the girls who is pregnant, receives the most backlash as word of the pregnancy gets out. Since Susan had Lily when she was only seventeen herself, the town begins to worry that these pregnancies will inspire copycat pregnancies. Their small town is scandalized, and many begin to demand Susan's resignation. After all, if she can't parent properly, how will she lead a whole high school filled with teenagers to a bright future?

While reading this, I couldn't help but think what a fantastic book club pick this would make. I don't even belong to a book club right now (which is why I love discussing books with all of you!) but if I did, I would be suggesting this one. Barbara Delinsky brings up so many interesting points, such as why three intelligent teenagers with bright futures would decide to cloud those futures by deliberately getting pregnant. It's not a question that's easy to answer, but she certainly comes up with a plausible explanation. She examines parenthood- what makes us good parents? Can you be a good parent but a bad leader of children, and vice versa? Should what happens at home affect how people view you at work? Not My Daughter gave me a lot of food for thought, and I found myself examining these questions as I read.

Sometimes I find that books with difficult topics can cross the line into implausible territory, which quite honestly makes me roll my eyes, but I found that Not My Daughter never crossed that line into being "over the top". Everything that happened seemed realistic, and I appreciated that. As I mentioned earlier this book had a personal connection for me. Since I became a mother at seventeen I could relate to Lily and her friends' pregnancy journeys, although the book is not from their point of view, and as a parent to an almost-teenager I could relate to Susan as well as she examines her parenting skills to see if they are lacking.

Not My Daughter was well-written, relevant and impossible to put down. The characters were easy to relate to, I was more than satisfied with the ending, and I was left with a lot to think about. I can't wait to read the other two Barbara Delinsky books that I have waiting for me on my bookshelf.

Make sure that you come back tomorrow; Barbara Delinsky will be guest posting and I will be hosting a giveaway that I am incredibly excited about! Thank-you to Jen at Random House for this review copy.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Fans of contemporary women's fiction, mothers of teenagers
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010

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