"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: The Pregnancy Project

Title: The Pregnancy Project A Memoir
Author: Gaby Rodriguez
Pages: 216
Rating: 3/5

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others' expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process.

In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself (www.goodreads.com).

Memoirs come and go for me.  Sometimes I found them to really interesting and enjoyable, other times I’m bored with the story being presented to me.  It really depends on two things for me – my connection with the narrator, and the quality of writing.  Both of these things are so important, especially in a memoir because you don’t normally have the same conflict/resolution/happy ending as you would in a work of fiction.

I was first introduced to Gaby’s story through the Lifetime movie (there is really nothing I enjoy more than sitting with my feet up on a Saturday watching Lifetime movies for hours on end…).  I really enjoyed the movie and I was taken with the premise of the project, but I wanted to know more.  I was hoping that Gaby’s memoir would answer my questions.  The next day, I headed to the library, and placed the book on hold.  The minute it came in, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  I was really interested in the bravery of this young girl.

That night I started reading, I began to learn Gaby’s background story…by page 60 (in a book that is only 216 pages) I was still learning it.  I was quickly becoming bored with the story.  I wanted to know about the project!  Finally, we see where Gaby makes the decision for her project, and the reactions of those around her and she works for approval of her idea.  I liked reading about what the principle and teachers thought of Gaby’s project, and it was interesting to read about her mother’s reaction also.  However, I felt like the book was lacking any real emotion.  I just didn’t see the push and drive that was behind the project.  I read the words on the pages, but I didn’t feel for Gaby. 

As the story progresses, we learn more about the reactions of Gaby’s classmates, but to be honest, I almost feel like the movie gave me a better idea of how her classmates and teachers acted.  I almost feel like the actual part of the book about the project was rushed.  I don’t feel like it was given the time that it needed in such a short book.  I would have rather learned less about Gaby’s background and that of her brothers and sisters, and more of the affects of the project on those around Gaby.  I just never felt like I got a real sense of how her brothers and sisters felt, how her boyfriend was handling the pressure, and how his family was reacting.  I just felt it was a bit glossed over.

Now, I still do think that Gaby’s project was amazing.  And I do see the impact that it had on not only her community but hopefully of the nation.  I just think that this book was almost rushed out and it didn’t get the full time and attention that it deserved.  I just don’t know if Gaby was truly able to really “tell her story.” 

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