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Not My Daughter Hardcover – January 5, 2010
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Amazon Exclusive: Kristin Hannah Reviews Not My Daughter
Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of 18 novels, including Firefly Lane, On Mystic Lake, Between Sisters, and True Colors. She is a former lawyer turned writer and is the mother of one son. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Read her exclusive Amazon guest review of Not My Daughter:
In this compelling, ripped-from-the-headline offering from bestselling author Barbara Delinsky, three high school seniors make a pregnancy pact. Heightening the stakes, these aren’t just any seniors--these are three popular, college-bound girls from good families. Set in an insular, tightly knit community in Maine, Not My Daughter explores the consequences of pact behavior on a small town, as well as the strain placed on mothers and daughters who find themselves in unfamiliar terrain. One of the pregnant teens is the daughter of the high school principal--a former teen mother herself--and the local school board is quick to assign blame. When the national media gets wind of the story, the principal’s job is put in jeopardy, as is her standing in the community. Not My Daughter is a timely exploration of teen motherhood and the hard choices that sometimes have to be made in life. Barbara Delinsky, long known as one of the premier authors of women's fiction, once again reveals the hidden strengths of ordinary women when faced with extraordinary adversity.--Kristin Hannah
(Photo © Deborah Feingold)
From Publishers Weekly
Delinsky proves once again why she's a perennial bestseller with this thought-provoking tale of three smart, popular teenage girls who make a pact to become pregnant and raise their babies together. Lily, Mary Kate, and Jess also happen to be the daughters of best friends Susan, Kate, and Sunny, and the mothers are thrown into a tailspin by this unexpected news. Susan, the principal of the town's high school, has the most to lose, when the schools superintendent and editor of the local newspaper question her abilities as a leader and mother, and other parents prove quick to blame her—a single mother herself who got pregnant as a teenager—as a poor role model. But all three women must come to grips with where they failed as mothers, how the dreams they had for their daughters are disappearing, and scathing smalltown judgment. Timely, fresh, and true-to-life, this novel explores multiple layers of motherhood and tackles tough questions. (Jan.)
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It's not a totally implausible storyline, and I don't think it's an inherently dull one either, but it's told in a very implausible and dull way. Lilly is pregnant, and her mother Susan is appalled. Not because Lilly is pregnant, it seems, but because she thinks she might lose her job as school principal once word gets out.
That's right, the entire first two thirds of the book are all about Susan, and how Susan's job might be affected, and how the people in the community might judge Susan, who was herself a pregnant teenager. We are treated to word-for-word meetings between Susan and the school superintendent and Susan and the school board, we delight in long paragraphs about the emails she plans to send to school parents, and we get to read newspaper editorials from people who think Susan is a bad mom, which of course upsets Susan.
Very little is said about the relationship between Susan and her daughter, which is the element of the story that I was most interested in.
Now I don't know about you, but you have to drag me kicking and screaming to real life school board meetings, the last thing I want to do is attend one in the pages of a novel that is supposed to be entertaining me.
As for the plausibility of the story, you might get me to believe that kids from dysfunctional families or from low income families might make a pregnancy pact, or that even one girl from an affluent family might decide to get pregnant because of inherent self esteem issues, but I have a very hard time believing that three girls from affluent families would do such a thing, without at least one of them trying to talk some sense into the others. But apart from that, I found the townspeople's reactions totally unbelievable. Yes, it is true that no one will or should champion teen pregnancy, but wanting to fire a girl's mother because her daughter became pregnant? Criticizing that same mom because she's living out of wedlock with someone? Preaching about the tarnished reputation of a company, school, group or person because that company, school, group or person is affiliated with a pregnant teenager? This story would have worked much better if it was set in the 50s or 60s. Maybe I'm naive because I live in a more progressive community, but I thought we'd put all that scarlet letter stuff behind us. Aren't we supposed to offer support and counseling to teenagers who get in trouble, not shun them?
And then there was all that stuff about yarn--I'm a knitter, and I didn't even find it interesting or relevant. It was almost as if the author, being a knitter herself, just put it in there as a way to keep herself interested in her own novel.
Yes, this novel was bad. It did get slightly interesting towards the end, when the author finally started exploring the relationships of the characters--but by then it was too late to save the story.
Everything changes when Susan's daughter informs her that she is now pregnant. Even better, two of her best friends are pregnant as well, and it wasn't an accident. The girls made a pact to have babies and raise them together. Susan's world comes crasing down as the town starts to turn on her, questioning her parenting skills and her reliability as the principal of their children.
The subject of a pregnancy pact has been all over the media lately, and in my opinion, Barbara Delinsky's novel goes beyond a run-of-the-mill retelling of the story. First, telling the story from the point of view of the mothers of the pregnant teens tells a whole other aspect of the story. It shows that the reach of a decision goes beyond affecting your own life, it affects everyone around you. I also liked the fact that at no point did the author make these girls out to be delinquent, rebellious teenagers. They were all intelligent, college-bound girls; she showed how someone could possibly reach the decision that being pregnant and in high school might be a good idea (not realizing that the consequences are long-term). The only downside, in my opinion, was the fact that those consequences weren't really played out. It ended pretty quickly after the babies were born, and we never really got to see how the lives of the girls were affected, and all of the things that their decision forced them to sacrifice.
This was my first book by Delinsky, and I would definately recommend it to my friends. It was enjoyable, and I'll probably read more of her novels.
The principal's daughter & her group of friends all get pregnant at the same time. Complete hell breaks loose in their small town community & chaos ensues. I love how the book tackles the viewpoints of the cynics and town folk who automatically blame the mothers of the daughters & their moral code. It is so hard to read but so good because you will root for the girls & their parents the entire way! It is far from stereotypical & will leave you thinking & i appreciated that most of all. It is worth every penny!
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Right off the bat, all I could think was how stupid these girls were.Read more