Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Lit Report

Two best friends go to Christian school, one the daughter of a hardcore fundamentalist preacher, the other the daughter of a divorced mother who came to Christianity later in life. Neither girl feels the same way their parents do about faith, and they have plans for a fabulous city life far away once they graduate high school. Then the preacher's daughter becomes pregnant. Her life seems to be over until our narrator, non-pregnant Julia, devises a plan--they'll hide the pregnancy and she will deliver her pal's baby at a cabin in the woods. Of course, the best-laid plans often go awry. . .

I don't want to give away too much here. I will say this definitely isn't Christian fiction. There's much swearing and little religious faith, at least from our main characters. I enjoyed the book, especially the humor. Julia--who always has a plan--has to face reality when life gets complicated, blowing her carefully constructed plans to pieces. The only thing that troubled me is this, and here I will warn you that there are. . .

Spoiler Alerts Below!!!!!!

When Julia's friend becomes attached to her new infant and decides to keep the baby, the two teens have to break the news to their respective parents. As expected, the fundamentalists lose it, but Julia's mom, dad and step-mom are so surprisingly laidback about the whole thing that I found it really stretched credulity. Then, the midwife from whom Julia has been slyly gatehring information, finds out and congratulates Julia on doing such a good job delivering an infant in the middle of the woods. I'm sorry, but what mystical adults are these? Where was the "hey, your friend could have died from labor complications" lecture? It never came. This troubled me.

Aside from that, I really liked the book. I expected that something disastrous would happen during the baby's birth but it didn't and in retrospect that would have been too predictable. The author doesn't glamorize pregnancy at all. She makes it clear that giving birth and caring for a child is a messy, messy business. Luckily, Julia and her friend have a strong support system in each other and in Julia's family. The relationships between people seemed real, and by the end of the book I felt like I knew everyone in the book.

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