When Susan Tate’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an inconceivable tragedy both for Lily and herself. Then comes word of two more pregnancies among other high school juniors who happen to be Lily’s best friends. The town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in an emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Barbara Delinsky is a New York Times bestselling author with more than thirty million copies of her books in print. She lives with her family in New England.
Date of Birth:August 9, 1945
Place of Birth:Boston, Massachusetts
Education:B.A. in Psychology, Tufts University, 1967; M.A. in Sociology, Boston College, 1969
Read an Excerpt
Susan Tate never saw it coming. She only knew that her daughter was different. The girl who had always been spontaneous and open had suddenly grown opaque.
Lily was seventeen. Maybe that said it. A senior in high school, she had a loaded course schedule, played field hockey and volleyball, and sang in an a cappella group. And, yes, Susan was spoiled by the close relationship she and Lily had always had. Theywere a family of two, fully comfortable with that and each other.
Inevitably, Lily had to test her wings. Susan knew that. But she also had a right to worry. Lily was the love of her life, the very best thing that had happened in all of her thirty-five years. As achievements in life went, being a good mother was theone she most prized.
That meant communicating, and with dinner too often interrupted by e-mail or texts, eating out was warranted. At a restaurant Susan would have Lily captive while they waited to order, waited for food, waited to payall quality time.
She suggested the Steak Place, definitely a splurge, but lined with quiet oak booths. Lily vetoed it in favor of Carlino's.
Carlino's wasn't even Susan's second choice. Oh, she liked the owners, the menu, and the art, all of which were authentically Tuscan. But the prices were so reasonable for large plates of food that the whole town went there. Susan wanted privacy and quiet;Carlino's was public and loud.
But she wanted to please Lily, so she gave in and, determined to be a good sport, smilingly hustled her daughter out of the November chill into a hive of warmth and sound. When they finally finished greeting friends and were seated, they shared hummuson toasted crostini, and though Lily only nibbled, she insisted it was good. More friends stopped by, and, in fairness, it wasn't only Lily's fault. As principal of the high school, Susan was well known in town. Another time, she would have enjoyed seeing everyone.
But she was on a mission this night. As soon as she was alone with Lily again, she leaned forward and quietly talked about her day at school. With next year's budget due by Thanksgiving and town resources stagnant, there were hard decisions to be made.Most staff issues were too sensitive to be shared with her seventeen-year-old daughter, but when it came to new course offerings and technology, the girl was a worthy sounding board.
Susan's motive actually went deeper, to the very heart of mothering. She believed that sharing adult issues encouraged Lily to think. She also believed that her daughter was insightful, and this night was no exception. Momentarily focused, Lily asked goodquestions.
No sooner had their entrees come, thoughchicken with cannellini beans for Lily, salmon with artichokes for Susanthan a pair of Susan's teachers interrupted to say hello. As soon as they left, Susan asked Lily about the AP chem test she'd had that morning. Though Lily repliedvolubly, her answers were heavy on irrelevant facts, and her brightness seemed forced. She picked at her food, eating little.
More worried than ever, Susan searched her daughter's face. It was heart shaped, as sweet as always, and was framed by long, shiny sable hair. The hair was a gift from her father, while her eyesSusan's eyeswere hazel and clear, her skin creamy andsmooth.
She didn't look sick, Susan decided. Vulnerable, perhaps. Maybe haunted. But not sick.
Even when Lily crinkled her nose and complained about the restaurant's heavy garlic smell, Susan didn't guess. She was too busy assuring herself that those clear eyes ruled out drug use, and as for alcohol, she had never seen bottles, empty or otherwise,in Lily's room. She didn't actively search, as in checking behind clutter on the highest shelves. But when she returned clean laundry to drawers or hung jeans in the closet, she saw nothing amiss.
Alcohol wouldn't be a lure. Susan drank wine with friends, but rarely stocked up, so it wasn't like Lily had a bar to draw from. Same with prescription drugs, though Susan knew how easy it was for kids to get them online. Rarely did a month go by withouta student apprehended for that.
Susan blinked. "Yes, sweetheart?"
"Look who's distracted. What are you thinking about?"
"You. Are you feeling all right?"
There was a flash of annoyance. "You keep asking me that."
"Because I worry," Susan said and, reaching across, laced her fingers through Lily's. "You haven't been the same since summer. So here I am, loving you to bits, and because you won't say anything, I'm left to wonder whether it's just being seventeen andneeding your own space. Do I crowd you?"
Lily sputtered. "No. You're the best mom that way."
"Is it school? You're stressed."
"Yes," the girl said, but her tone implied there was more, and her fingers held Susan's tightly.
"I'm okay with those."
"Then calculus." The calc teacher was the toughest in the math department, and Susan had worried Lily would be intimidated. But what choice was there? Raymond Dunbar was thirty years Susan's senior and had vocally opposed her ascension to the principalship.If she asked him to ease up, he would accuse her of favoritism.
But Lily said, "Mr. Dunbar isn't so bad."
Susan jiggled Lily's fingers. "If I were to pinpoint it, I'd say the change came this past summer. I've been racking my brain, but from everything you told me, you loved your job. I know, I know, you were at the beach, but watching ten kids under the ageof eight is hard, and summer families can be the worst."
Lily scooped back her hair. "I love kids. Besides, I was with Mary Kate, Abby, and Jess." The girls were her three best friends, and the daughters of Susan's best friends. All three girls were responsible. Abby occasionally lacked direction, like her mom,Pam, and Jessica had a touch of the rebel, though her mother, Sunny, did not. But Mary Kate was as steady as her mom, Kate, who was like a sister to Susan. With Mary Kate along, Lily couldn't go wrong.
Not that Lily wasn't steady herself, but Susan knew about peer pressure. If she had learned one thing as a teacher it was that the key to a child's success lay in no small part with the friends she kept.
"And nothing's up with them?" she asked.
Lily grew guarded. "Has Kate said anything?"
Susan gentled. "Nothing negative. She always asks about you, though. You're her sixth child."
"But has she said anything about Mary Kate? Is she worried about her like you're worried about me?"
Susan thought for a minute, then answered honestly. "She's more sad than worried. Mary Kate is her youngest. Kate feels like she's growing away from her, too. But Mary Kate isn't my concern. You are." A burst of laughter came from several tables down.Annoyed by the intrusion, Susan shot the group a glance. When she turned back, Lily's eyes held a frightened look.
Susan had seen that look a lot lately. It terrified her.
Desperate now, she held Lily's hand even tighter and, in a low, frantic voice, said, "What is wrong? I'm supposed to know what girls your age are feeling and thinking, but lately with you, I just don't. There are so many times when your mind is somewhereelsesomewhere you won't allow me to be. Maybe that's the way it should be at your age," she acknowledged, "and it wouldn't bother me if you were happy, but you don't seem happy. You seem preoccupied. You seem afraid."
Susan gasped. Freeing her hand, she sat straighter. She waited for a teasing smile, but there was none. And of course not. Lily wouldn't joke about something like this.
Her thoughts raced. "Butbut that's impossible. I mean, it's not physically impossible, but it wouldn't happen." When Lily said nothing, Susan pressed a hand to her chest and whispered, "Would it?"
"I am," Lily whispered back.
"What makes you think it?"
"Six home tests, all positive."
"Not late. Missed. Three times."
"Three? Omigod, why didn't you tell me?" Susan cried, thinking of all the other things a missed period could mean. Being pregnant didn't make sense, not with Lily. But the child didn't lie. If she said she was pregnant, she believed it herselfnot that it was true. "Home tests can be totally misleading."
"Nausea, tiredness, bloating?"
"I don't see bloating," Susan said defensively, because if her daughter was three months pregnant, she would have seen it.
"When was the last time you saw me naked?"
"In the hot tub at the spa," she replied without missing a beat.
"That was in June, Mom."
Susan did miss a beat then, but only one. "It must be something else. You don't even have a boyfriend." She caught her breath. "Do you?" Had she really missed something? "Who is he?"
"It doesn't matter."
"Doesn't matter? Lily, if you are" She couldn't say the word aloud. The idea that her daughter was sexually active was totally new. Sure, she knew the statistics. How could she not, given her job? But this was her daughter, her daughter. They had agreedLilyhad promisedshe would tell Susan if she wanted birth control. It was a conversation they'd had too many times to count. "Who is he?" she asked again.
Lily remained silent.
"But if he's involved"
"I'm not telling him."
"Did he force you?"
"No," Lily replied. Her eyes were steady not with fear, now, but something Susan couldn't quite name. "It was the other way around," she said. "I seduced him."
Susan sat back. If she didn't know better, she might have said Lily looked excited. And suddenly nothing about the discussion was rightnot the subject, not that look, certainly not the place. Setting her napkin beside the plate, she gestured for theserver. The son of a local family, and once a student of Susan's, he hurried over.
"You haven't finished, Ms. Tate. Is something wrong?"
Something wrong? "No, uh, just time."
"Should I box this up?"
"No, Aidan. If you could just bring the bill."
He had barely left when Lily leaned forward. "I knew you'd be upset. That's why I haven't told you."
"How long were you planning to wait?"
"Just a little longermaybe 'til the end of my first trimester."
"Lily, I'm your mother."
"But this is my baby," the girl said softly, "so I get to make the decisions, and I wasn't ready to tell you, not even tonight, which is why I chose this place. But even here, it's like you can see inside me."
Susan was beyond hurt. Getting pregnant was everything she had taught Lily not to do. She sat back, let out a breath. "I can't grasp this. Are you sure?" Lily's body didn't look different, but what could be seen when she wore the same layered tops thather friends did, and the days when Susan bathed her each night were long gone. "Three missed periods?" she whispered. "Then this happened . . .?"
"Eleven weeks ago."
Susan was beside herself. "When did you do the tests?"
"As soon as I missed my first period."
And not a word spoken? It was definitely a statement, but of what? Defiance? Independence? Stupidity? Lily might be gentle, often vulnerablebut she also had a stubborn streak. When she started something, she rarely backed down. Properly channeled, thatwas a positive thing, like when she set out to win top prize at the science fair, which she did, but only after three false starts. Or when she set out to sing in the girls a cappella group, didn't make the cut as a freshman and worked her tail off that yearand the next as the group's manager, until she finally landed a spot.
But this was different. Stubbornness was not a reason for silence when it came to pregnancy, certainly not when the prospective mother was seventeen.
Unable to order her thoughts, Susan grasped at loose threads. "Do the others know?" It went without saying that she meant Mary Kate, Abby, and Jess.
"Yes, but no moms."
"And none of the girls told me?" More hurt there. "But I see them all the time!"
"I swore them to silence."
"Does your dad know?"
Lily looked appalled. "I would never tell him before I told you."
"Well, that's something."
"I love babies, Mom," the girl said, excited again.
"And that makes this okay?" Susan asked hysterically, but stopped when the server returned. Glancing at the bill, she put down what might have been an appropriate amount, then pushed her chair back. The air in the room was suddenly too warm, the smellstoo pungent even for someone who wasn't pregnant. As she walked to the door with Lily behind, she imagined that every eye in the room watched. It was a flash from her own past, followed by the echo of her mother's words. You've shamed us, Susan. What were youthinking?
Times had changed. Single mothers were commonplace now. The issue for Susan wasn't shame, but the dreams she had for her daughter. Dreams couldn't hold up against a baby. A baby changed everything.
The car offered privacy but little comfort, shutting Susan and Lily in too small a space with a huge chasm between them. Fighting panic as the minutes passed without a retraction, Susan fumbled for her keys and started the engine.
Carlino's was in the center of town. Heading out, she passed the bookstore, the drugstore, two Realtors, and a bank. Passing Perry & Cass took longer. Even in the fifteen years Susan had lived in Zaganack, the store had expanded. It occupied three blocksnow, two-story buildings with signature crimson-and-cream awnings, and that didn't count the mail-order department and online call center two streets back, the manufacturing complex a mile down the road, or the shipping department farther out in the country.
Zaganack was Perry & Cass. Fully three-fourths of the townsfolk worked for the retail icon. The rest provided services for those who did, as well as for the tens of thousands of visitors who came each year to shop.
But Perry & Cass wasn't what had drawn Susan here when she'd been looking for a place to raise her child. Having come from the Great Plains, she had wanted something coastal and green. Zaganack overlooked Maine's Casco Bay, and, with its hemlocks and pines,was green year-round. Its shore was a breathtaking tumble of sea-bound granite; its harbor, home port to a handful of local fishermen, was quaint. With a population that ebbed and flowed, swelling from 18,000 to 28,000 in summer, the town was small enough tobe a community, yet large enough to allow for heterogeneity.
Besides, Susan loved the name Zaganack. A derivative of the Penobscot tongue, it was loosely interpreted to mean "people from the place of eternal spring," and though local lore cited Native Americans' reference to the relatively mild weather of coastaltowns, Susan took a broader view. Spring meant new beginnings. She had found one in Zaganack.
And now this? History repeating itself?
Reading Group Guide
The questions and topics that follow are designed to enhance your book club’s discussion of Barbara Delinsky’s Not My Daughter. We hope they will enrich your experience of this compelling novel.
1. What do the novel’s opening pages tell you about Susan’s relationship with her daughter? What advantages and disadvantages did Susan experience as a single parent? Would you have married Rick at age eighteen if you had been in her situation?
2. How does Susan’s life compare to the lives of the other moms in the book: Kate, Sunny, and Pam? What do their daughters (Lily, Mary Kate, Jess, and Abby) have in common? Are there any similarities between the way the mothers interact and the girls’ circle of friendship?
3. How did you react when Abby revealed why she had wanted to form a motherhood pact with her friends? What longings were they each hoping to satisfy by becoming pregnant? Were they seeking unconditional love, or rebellion against their parents, or something else altogether? How did their motivations change throughout the novel?
4. Though Not My Daughter is entirely a work of ﬁction, in the summer of 2008 media coverage erupted over a group of teenage girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts, who were alleged to have made a pact to become pregnant and raise their babies together. What does this say about the way our idea of motherhood has changed over generations? Do pregnancy and parenting mean something different to modern women, compared to our grandmothers’ generation?
5. Jess’s extended family is full of interesting contradictions. How was she shaped by Samson and Delilah, and by the ongoing friction between them and Sunny? Is Sunny right to think of Martha and Hank as “Normal with a capital N”? How does Jess deﬁne “normal,” based on her family life?
6. The girls have unrealistic ideas about how much it costs to raise a child. Already living on a tight budget, Will and Kate are especially upset by the financial implications of Mary Kate’s news. How does money affect parenting? Who are the best parents in the novel?
7. How did Rick and Susan’s relationship change over time? Is Lily the only reason they stayed connected, or were there other constants that gave them an emotional attachment into adulthood?
8. How would you have responded to Lily if she had been your daughter? Would you have wanted her to have the baby? If so, would you have wanted her to give up the child for adoption? Would you offer to raise your children’s children?
9. How is Lily transformed by the unsettling news of her fetus’s CDH? Was she prepared for the ultimate parenting job of managing a crisis and responding to events that are beyond her control?
10. Why does Lily resist Robbie? Is there a difference between girls’ and boys’ responsibilities when a teen pregnancy occurs? Should fully adult dads have more rights than teenage ones?
11. PC Wool represents a dream fulﬁlled for Susan. What do the colors, the creativity, and the camaraderie mean to her? If Perry & Cass is a metaphor for family, what kind of family is it? How was Abby affected by her parents’ wealth, and the Perry legacy?
12. Discuss the relationship between Susan and her brother, Jackson. Why do he and Ellen have so much animosity toward her? How does Lily feel about family after she attends her grandfather’s funeral? How does Susan’s understanding of her mother change with the revelation that Big Rick and Ellen were once very close?
13. How did you respond to George Abbott’s editorial in the Zaganack Gazette? Was Susan in any way responsible for Lily’s pregnancy? Who is responsible for preventing teen pregnancy: schools? parents? the media? someone else? On some level, was Lily trying to embarrass her mother by letting history repeat itself?
14. Discuss the novel’s title and the way it captures some parents’ belief that their children are immune from peer pressure. How much do you trust your children? How much did your parents trust you?
15. How did the epilogue compare to the ending you had predicted? What did all children in the novel (adults and infants alike) teach their mothers?
16. What truths about the gifts of motherhood are illustrated in Not My Daughter, and in other novels by Barbara Delinsky? What is special about the way she portrays the bonds between parents and their children?
(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit: www.readinggroupcenter.com.)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a mother, who like Susan, experienced this myself as a young person I found the book interesting. I found it very realistic to the reactions felt when living in a small community... despite the fact that the situaion ultimately affected NONE of those characters who were most strongly against it! I think it's a good topic for today, because even though teen pregnancy is not new pact behavior offers it a new twist. Good book!!!
Lots of good lessons and food for a LOT of thought on teenage prgnancy. Wonderful, thought provoking storyline, heartfelt, heart yanking moments that will stick with you. Worth your time.
I enjoyed Ms. Delinsky's lastest book. As a mother and a professional, it made me think about my own children and how I would react if a similar situation happened to them or to their friends. This would be a wonderful book club read that would bring many great discussions.
Boring, boring, boring. I will have to admit I finished it to the end, hoping it would get better as it went along. In my opinion, this was the worst book she has ever written. I was very disappointed.
What would you do if your seventeen year old daughter told you she was pregnant and what if that wasn't the end of it. The story line/plot of this book is engaging, worrisome and very unique in a way only an outstanding storyteller could. She brings us the story through the voices of the young women and the voices of their mothers and families. She gives us a good look at small town America and what could happen if the continuity of that town was broken. Her characters are rich and colorful and so three dimensional that they jump off the page. You will laugh and cry with them, hope and fear with them and above all you'll cheer for them. The novel goes deep into the relationship between mothers and daughters. The dangers of youthful pacts and the consequences they bring. Her flowing dialogue keeps us turning pages as she tells her story. There is romance involved in the novel and it's portrayed wonderfully but it's not the major point of the story. This novel would appeal to all readers who love a great story. To women who have teenage daughters or granddaughters. To those who enjoy a coming of age story. To anyone who loves great literature.
As parents we have dreams of how we want to raise our children and who they will become, what they will do with their lives and we expend so much energy helping to mold them into responsible adults. But when the reality of our dreams and aspirations collide head on with the reality of what our children decide to do on their own the results from these decisions can be catastrophic and life altering for both parent and child. This is played out when three 17-year old girls who are lifelong friends decide that instead of the amazing future that their parents have planned for them another idea makes more sense - having a baby. The girls make a pact to get pregnant at the same time. While each of them comes from a different home life the intricacies of this has always drawn them closer together to provide encouragement. But once they become pregnant and begin to tell their families the fall out that ensues is nothing that they expected or are prepared to deal with and what erupts is not against the girls but their mothers and how these women as mothers failed their children. In particular for Lily whose mother, Susan, is the principal of the high school they all attend is singularly called out in large part not only because Susan is the high school principal. Not only is the backlash at her for setting a poor mother role model to the community but also as an ineffective principal based solely on the fact that she herself was a single mother that had a child at 17. Susan fights for her right to remain as principal but the friends she has always relied upon for moral support are also the mothers of the other girls involved and are struggling with their own inner demons and home issues. While preparing for every possible obstacle that comes up and trying to fight off the nay sayers what Susan never anticipated was that this chaos would cause old ghosts from her experience at 17 to reappear as she thought they were gone if not completely forgotten. Even after Susan worked hard to build a life for Lily and spent so much time on trying to show her what she could have Lily thought she knew exactly what she wanted and that want was a baby of her own. The anger Susan feels at all of her dreams erupting in the blink of an eye fades away as the town erupts with anger and the school board is asking for Susan's resignation. However, as the story unfolds you see how strong women are as not only mother's but as a person in the household and the community because when pushed they will shove back regardless of how much stronger the opponent appears. When it is then discovered that there was yet another girl involved who it turns out was the master mind behind the pact to become pregnant new conflicts with the friends and the girls erupt. But everything comes to a screeching halt when Lily's baby has a serious health issue that must be contended with and all the inner battles being fought come to a halt as everyone rallies around the one person that needs the most love and attention right now - Lily's baby. You can never use enough positive words to describe a Barbara Delinsky book because they are such an amazing read. Perfection does not even come close, wonderful is an understatement and enjoyable is never strong enough. Ms. Delinsky's books tell a story yes, but her books draw you into lives that are complicated, situations that are intense and relationships that are imperfect.
Barbara Delinsky did a fascinating job with her characters. I enjoyed the story line. The idea of a pregnancy pact is not ever at the forefront of my mind. What I liked is the way things worked out. NOt perfectly but fairly realistically. The dynamics of a small town were captured as were the nuances of female relationships. I think this is a great discussion book for moms and daughters as well as a book club.
This was a fantastic book. I loved the storyline and how the book related to everyday family problems that we all have gone through with our children. It's a book a parent could relate to.
A gifted voice performer Cassandra Campbell narrates with ease in both Italian and English. She has countless audiobooks, documentaries, and commercials to her credit plus on stage performance experience. She brings depth and clarity to her reading of NOT MY DAUGHTER. Single mom Susan Tate has done all right for herself and her daughter, Lily, now 17. The principal of the local high in Zaganack, a small close knit community Susan is proud of Lily who excels not only scholastically but also in sports. Truth be told, Susan might be even prouder of their mother/daughter relationship. They're close, honest and open with one another. Thus, Lily's words were a shocker. "Susan never saw it coming. She only knew that her daughter was different. The girl who had always been spontaneous and open had suddenly grown opaque." She is pregnant. Hearing that confession from Lily and having the fact corroborated by a doctor brought back what Susan's mother had said to her years ago, "You've shamed us, Susan. What were you thinking?" She, too, had been pregnant in high school and refused to marry the father of her child. Inspired to a degree by the Gloucester, MA pregnancy pact Barbara Delinsky has fashioned a riveting, emotion packed story about three high school girls who make a similar agreement. The effects on both the girls and their families are thoughtfully explored as each copes in a different way. As the high school principal Susan is, of course, now at risk with some perhaps thinking she is not fit to lead young students. She has fought hard for not only her job but for financial independence. Lily's actions force her mother to re-examine the mother/daughter relationship, as well as the part she may have played in Lily's choice consciously or subconsciously. Yet, at its heart NOT MY DAUGHTER is a story of love and forgiveness. Delinsky's characters are authentic, so real, and ultimately sympathetic. And her story line may lead some to discover just how many ways there are to be a good mother. - Gail Cooke
I enjoyed this book. Nice little vacation for my brain.
I purchased this book because the subject matter interested me. I feel like i've read a lifetime movie. No originality.
One I started it, I could not stop. I liked the characterizations. I wanted to like them anyway, but I found myself feeling horribly sorry for these boys who were picked for their good genes" especially good guy Robbie. Do we really want girls to think that boys can be used this way and discarded just because it's happened to so many girls in the past? And the whole thing had a bright shiny happy ending, making it look like a pregnancy pact is a good thing. Yes, everyone had problems, but the nitty gritty of having a child at seventeen turned out fine for all. It was VERY flat in spots.
Good book for moms. It shows the complication of a mother daughter relationships and standards mothers face.
This is not one of this author's better books and seems to be crying out to be a TV movie. In fact, it's a cross between a TV news magazine story and a made-for-tv-movie! Yes, I admit I read it straight through, but it was an easy read, and to be honest, I kept waiting for it to get better....it didn't. I wanted to like the characters but I just couldn't- the adults seemed to be ignoring reality and the daughters living in a dream world.Single mom, works hard and makes good only to have her "brilliant, top-of-the-class daughter" decide to have a baby because "(she) loves kids and knows (she'd) be a great mom because she had a great role model". If that's not hard enough for you to swallow, add in the kid's two best friends who do likewise and are duped into it all by another wanna be BFF who got pregnant first, later miscarried and left the others "holding the bag", so to speak. Susan, Mom and HS Principal Extraordinaire distances emotionally just a bit, but the combination of her daughter's precarious pregnancy and the return of the oh-so-suave TV anchorman who is the father of her daughter and who, it turns out, never stopped loving her, brings her around, and Baby Makes Three! Toss in a few requisite characters such as crabby old Down East misogynists, hippie grandparents and confused boys who were duped into stud service and the book crosses over into absurdity.It might be a good choice for women's book clubs if the 1) want a light read 2) can suspend reality and 3) want to have some interesting "what if" discussions. Good if you want a quick read, or you can wait for Lifetime to make the TV movie!
I totally enjoyed Barbara Delinsky's newest book. It is a well investigated storyline and very applicable in today's world. Heart wrenching. I felt as though I was going through all the events myself. Actually did not want the story to end. Bravo Barbara!!
This was a very touching story of a young girl and her friends that form a pregancy pack. Susan, one of the mother's of one of the girls, handles the situation with class. Even though it cause her some problems with her work, she's a high school principal. I feel the story was very timly and would hopt tha tif I were in that situation I would hnadle it as nicely as Susan. I was very touched that Barbara chose to use my name as the character, Susan Tate. I'm very proud and would definately love to know this character.
This was a good book with enough substance to make it a good Book Club choice. The edition I read had questions in the back designed to start discussions, but I don't think you need them. The book really had me thinking about what it means to be a good parent...and just how quickly a teenage kid can get off track! The characters were easy to get to know and the friendships the women shared felt real. Delinsky also wove in enough aspects of the women's lives to let you see them in three dimensions.
I received this Advance Reader Copy via Good Reads.Being a high school teacher, I felt that this book correctly hits on pact vs. pack behavior. The premise that 3 normally good girls would decide to become pregnant with not well thought out reasons is exactly how teens act today. They understand the here and now and short-term, but there is no concept about long-term. The girls in the story feel that they are smart enough/young enough/healthy enough to become pregnant and have a baby. They only see the baby as the culmination of their goal, not the years after.This story shows how the girls' pregnancies effect not only their families but also their extended families and their schoolmates. It also brings in the small town life. Not only what someone does becomes everyone's business, but also explores the politics of small town life. Who your family is, or what position your family holds means that the family is held to a different set of standards, whether it is good, bad, or otherwise.Yes, it is chick lit, but I feel that teen girls need to read this to completely understand what teen pregnancy means. It isn't just the 9 months of pregnancy and a baby, it is changing relationships, and losing dreams.
This book was interesting, and "ripped from the headlines." The characters likeable and I blazed through the book until it was done.However, I guess I just have some issues with the book that do not let me give it a higher rating. Mild spoilers ahead.I just can't imagine that none of three girls would regret their decision to have a child so early. I know babies change lives and as a medical doctor myself, I've seen many of these girls-- even younger than these 17 years old. I've heard the excuse "I wanted a baby so that I'd have someone to love me and be all mine." And these children end up getting raised by a grandparent or god forbid a great-grandparent. I liked how Delinsky dealt with showing different sides to hard issues, but I never felt that Lily entirely realized how Susan, her mother, was feeling, and to what extent Susan was receiving backlash from her decisions. She saw some limited views on it and apologized in a very non-satisfying way-- just as you might imagine an immature selfish teenager may respond. And she thought it was a wonderful idea to have a child at 17 and had no conception of why this may get in the way of her life. I just wondered if she would always think the same, and educate her own child to have a child early. Being a good mother is more than just knowing how to change diapers and having someone to love. I just couldn't agree with the "happy ending" that Delinsky wrote.
I read this book in a day. Awesome story.What happens when 4 girls make a pact to each have a baby? What do their parents have to say when they find out and it's too late in the pregnancy to do anything about it? What happens when one of the girl's moms is the principal of the local high school? What makes a good or bad mother? So many questions asked and awareness raised on teen pregnancies. A great story line ripped from headlines. There aren't always clear cut answers on the issues. Sometimes you just "have to deal" as one of the mothers points out.
Inspired by both the pregnancy 'pact' (though there apparently never actually was one) in Gloucester, Massachusetts and Sarah Palin's daughter being pregnant during the campaign, Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinksy is the story of teen pregnancy through both the girls' eyes and their mothers'.In this story, the girls--the seemingly smart, college bound Maine high school best friends, Lily, Mary Kate and Jess all become pregnant as part of a pact. This, of course, throws their mothers Susan, Kate, and Sunny (also best friends) for a complete loop and they were sure they'd done all they could to raise good girls. Add in that they're in small, conservative New England and that Susan is the high school principal who herself got pregnant as a teen and drama abounds.Told through the different points of view of the three mothers (and their fourth best friend Pam and some from the girls), Not My Daughter follows the developments of the girls early pregnancies, the families being told, the town finding out and the ramifications of not only teen pregnancies in a small town but the HS principal's daughter being one of them.I read Not My Daughter because Elizabeth Scott rated it on Goodreads and it sounded like something to give a try (and I've seen Barbara Delinsky's name & books but never read any)--and the Lifetime movie The Pregnancy Pact was going to be on, too. And while this book was compelling and certainly kept me up reading it to find out just how things were going to turn out, it also disappointed.I'm not sure if my feelings about it are because it's written more for someone that could have teenage children/daughters than someone who just was sixteen...Or if that has nothing to do with it. But, I feel like the story was almost sanitized to make parents feel better.AND HERE BE SPOILERSThere was a lot of talk of whether or not it was the mothers' fault that their daughters got pregnant with the end decision seeming to be that they were good mothers and the girls just made this choice regardless (there was more to it, more why but still the 'you raised them well and then they did this'). I'm not sure I completely bought that, though. Not to say they were bad mothers, but to me, saying how they were raised had nothing to do with it was wrong. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but when you're 17, if you make a conscious decision to get pregnant, how you were raised had something to do with it. Enough with that point now ;)I also didn't quite accept that all of the parents were so 'Okay, you'll keep that baby and we'll pay for it and that's that." I know one mother had more trouble accepting her daughters pregnancy than the others (still didn't seem like a whole lot) but there was still never any talk of anything other than the girls all keeping the babies. It was just 'no abortions or giving my baby away,' I don't think anyone even mentioned that there are open adoptions. And fiction's fiction for a reason, even if a tiny percent of teens put their baby up for adoption, maybe one of them in the story could have.That paired with Lily's 'my baby's this big now and has intestines' every other page made if feel kind of like a conservative take on things (with the abortion's evil, I'll keep my baby stance). It might have just supposed to have been her being happy about being pregnant but it seemed overdone.I think overall it just seemed to happy, easy. I know that Susan had trouble with her job and one of the girls had some trouble with her baby for a bit but overall it seemed like: the girls plan to get pregnant, they're ecstatic about it, they tell their families, that goes generally well, their families agree to provide for them and their babies, grandparents, moms and babies are all good and everyone's still a responsible parent.I know it's not a deep book or anything, but I guess I expected more out of it than that.END SPOILERSI think my other problem with the story was that everyone seemed to reach their conclusions or have things hap
Not much language or sexual content.Four female friends have daughters. The moms run a yarn business or PC, the company in Vermont that runs the town (sort of like LL Bean). The daughters all secretly agree to a pregnancy pact the summer before their senior year or high school. One miscarries, the others continue. The first pregnant girl is Lily, Susan's daughter. Susan is the high school principal and a single mother who herself got pregnant at 17. The town thinks she is unfit to be principal now that her daughter did this.The story was interesting. The four moms being best friends, too was a bit much, as was their company and its success with the yarn. The pact thing was interesting. At the end of the book, Susan and Lily's father end up getting married, which seemed a bit too much of a happy ending.
Torn from the headlines, this most recent novel by Barbara Delinsky will keep you riveted until the very end. I was drawn to it because of the simple premise of teenage pregnancy. But, once I started reading, I was immersed into a town in Maine where nothing is as it seems. Everyone has secrets, agendas, and past lives to hide. But, as they say, the truth always comes out in the end. And, boy, does it ever in this compelling read. If you have daughters, this will make you think long and hard about everything you think you know. I whole-heartedly give it four stars. And, trust me, I am usually a very harsh critic!
"Not My Daughter" by Barbara Delinsky is a story dealing with teen pregnancy and the pact that is made between close friends to all become pregnant at the age of 17. Obviously there are many sensitive topics discussed including miscarriage, abortion, birth defects, fertility issues and obviously pre-marital teen sexual activity.The writing was very intriguing and it drew me in quickly. However, I was disappointed in the ending. I felt as thought there was a lot of build up and a lot of good topics introduced but it felt like everything wrapped up too neat and nicely at the end. I would recommend this book as an interesting read and a book that causes the reader to think about these topics.