Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

Not My Daughter

Title: Not My Daughter
Author: Barbara Delinsky
Publishing Date: January 5, 2010
Source: Bought
Summary (from Goodreads):

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 unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself.

Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter's pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk.

The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother?


Not My Daughter is a book about four teen friends that make a pact to become pregnant and raise the babies on their own, sans fathers. The book is mainly centered on Susan and her daughter Lily, who is one of the pregnant teens. Susan, a high school principal, single mom (and a former teen mother herself), is pushed to the limits within the pages both emotionally and professionally when it becomes known that the pact is not only in her school but involves her daughter as well.

At first I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, but I'm really glad I did. I can identify with the main character as a mother, and it made me stop and think 'what if my kids did this?' All the questions that are raised in this book about what makes a good mother definitely ran through my mind. If my child fails in society is it my fault, or is it all on her/him? Did I not spend enough time teaching them right from wrong, good from bad? Did they do this to draw attention to themselves from others or to get attention from me? The relationship between mother and daughter is tested, in what I think, are very real emotions and thoughts.

Even though Lily’s parents are not together, her father is still a part of her life. He’s absent most of the story until Susan tells him about their daughter’s pregnancy and all of a sudden, wonder dad is present and in their lives full time. I found that a bit forced, given Susan never wanted him around in the first place, or at least never wanted to marry him and insisted he go off on his own to find his own life.

I was slightly disappointed in the ending, wishing Delinsky would have put a little more focus on Lily’s labour and birth. But it really is a book based on how a mother feels and what she goes through, despite it being about a teenage pregnancy, so I can understand why she ended like she did. I would have also liked to know why the girls wanted/thought they needed babies. That was never mentioned in the story, and I think it should have been a conversation mother and daughter had.

All in all I thought it was a good read, mainly because it made me think of what I would do in the situation. 

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