I really liked this book. I had never read anything by Delinsky before and, to be honest, had kind of written her off as a “not my style” type of author. I had placed her in a genre with Danielle Steele and other similarly aged authors. I read something by Danielle Steele when I worked at the library and REALLY didn’t like it. Delinsky’s books always reminded me of that and had never really grabbed my attention before. However, while spending an hour on my Friday off wandering around a Chapters, I came across “Not My Daughter” and it sounded too good to pass up.
The general idea is great – 3 teenage girls who make a pregnancy pact and have to deal with the ramifications of their choices. I had recently been reading about an actual pregnancy pact that took place in the states and was interested. One issue with the book though is that I had difficulty getting into the characters’ mindsets. As a result, there were times when I wanted to smack the pregnant teenagers. You really didn’t think that people would think you were a “slut” by getting pregnant at 17? You thought your parents would be happy that you were pregnant and no longer going to college? You thought your parents would just LOVE to have another baby around the house when they were finally getting ahead in their lives after having 5 of their own? Sometimes the girls seemed mature and then they seemed SO immature. The book was focused on one of the pregnant girls’ mothers, but Delinsky did not provide enough insight to make the pregnancy pact seem completely plausible. One suggestion would have been to interview the individuals who took place in the original pregnancy pact in Massachusetts in 2008. It also made the girls seem like vapid little followers because they originally made the pregnancy pact at the suggestion of a fourth potential member who had become pregnant accidentally (and later miscarries) and thought that it would be better for her if all of their group was pregnant. Delinsky actually provided more insight into this character’s mind than into the main character’s daughter’s.
There were also some little minute details that didn’t really make sense (like all three girls having unprotected sex only ONCE and getting pregnant immediately), but other than that, it was good. I liked the way Delinsky incorporated the risks of underage pregnancy and how that could affect the baby. I learned a lot about some medical conditions possible in all newborns (but with higher incidence rates in teenage mothers and women over 40).
I really didn’t like how the entire town thought that these girls got pregnant because their MOTHERS (not fathers) didn’t raise them properly. It seemed completely realistic, but there were times when I thought, would the entire town really care that much? My hometown is about 600 people and had there been three pregnant teenagers at once, I don’t think people would have cared that much. Granted there were no pregnancy pacts and the school principal isn’t the mother of the one girls, but still. Maybe things are different in the states, but in Canada the home and school committee can’t “vote” out a principal. The principal needs to be fired for not fulfilling the duties of her job – and being a parent who’s 17-year-old daughter doesn’t get pregnant is not one of the criteria.
Either way, I really liked this book and have passed it on to my mother and my sister. I have read some other book reviews for Delinsky’s other novels, but nothing has really caught my attention yet. Maybe I’ll have to spend some time scouring my goodreads account to see if there’s anything else there that sounds as interesting. The writing style is great – it’s just that the main plot of some of her other novels don’t seem to interest me.
Long story short: 4/5 stars. Am I glad I read this book? Definitely. Will I rush out and buy every book Delinsky has written? No.