Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan
What I liked about this was that Ellie wasn't made into a saint. She didn't Learn a Valuable Lesson. She didn't Become a Better Person. At least not right away. For most of the book she was exactly who she was. Fairly self-destructive, doing things because someone had told her not to. Pretty much screwing herself over just to show she could show 'em all how wrong they were. She married Lam because her parents didn't want her to. She wanted to keep the baby only because no one thought she should. It's not a good lesson for kids certainly, but it sure was realistic, and I think anyone who read this would see that she was being self destructive and was only hurting herself.
As Ellie works at the camp, she comes to realize that she actually really likes working with kids, and she's pretty good at it. She begins to start thinking more seriously about what she should do. After Lam cheats on her, she's pretty sure they shouldn't keep the baby. The baby is born with Down Syndrome, and suddenly, all those people who wanted the baby aren't interested anymore. Ellie, however, loves her child. She wants more than anything to be able to keep her, but she isn't sure how she can make that work. She doesn't have a job. She doesn't have a place to live, and no one believes she capable of taking care of a baby, especially one who's going to have a lot of special needs.
Ellie goes back and forth between trying to figure out if the best thing for the child is to let it go. Her parents reassure her that the baby will have a wonderful home, but the social worker is upfront saying that there's no guarantee that the baby will find a home at all. Ellie is more determined than ever to keep her child. The ending is kind of unrealistic and all problems are solved, but up until then I thought it was very honest.
There was a side plot about Ellie's relationship with one of the girls at the camp, a ten year-old named Banner. Banner is timid and whinny and scared of everything, but most of all that people will laugh at her and make fun of her, which they do often. Ellie tries to help her, but sometimes gets frustrated with her because Banner just won't take an initiative and help herself. The Banner side plot has a sad ending, and I'm not totally sure why it was there. I don't think it made Ellie come to any conclusions she wouldn't have gotten to without it.
By the end of the book, Ellie is stronger and more self-sufficient than before. She no longer feels the need to make choices based on how much it will piss other people off. She's going to make choices that will be the best ones for her child.
Pregnant Pause come out September 20.