Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not My Daughter Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky Book Review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Susan Tate has worked hard to overcome her past.  Pregnant at 17 and banished by her parents, Susan worked her way through school and up the ranks from teacher to high school principal in Zaganack, Maine.  She has done her best as a single mom to raise her daughter Lily to be a bright, compassionate individual and considers herself Lily's friend and confidante.  Lately, though, a space has grown between Susan & Lily.  When she receives the shocking news that her daughter is nearly three months pregnant, Susan is blown away.  It turns out it is not just Lily pregnant.  Her best friends, Mary Kate & Jess are pregnant as well.  The girls made a pact to get pregnant together.

Susan's entire world is in a shambles.  How can history be repeating itself?  Wasn't she a good mom?  Didn't she raise Lily to think things through and consider the consequences?  As high school principal, news of the pregnancy pact does not sit well with the Zaganack school board.  Susan finds her job in jeopardy while trying to come to terms with Lily's pregnancy.  The pregnancies could even affect PC Wool, the yarn dyeing company Susan owns with her best friends, two of them the mothers of Mary Kate & Jess.

This is the first time I've read Barbara Delinsky, and I have to say I'll be reading more!  This is a complex story with lots of interwoven parts and connected lives.  I find the story all the richer for the characters of Pam & Abby Perry, both of whom feel on the fringes of their groups.  Pam is married to a Perry, and  Zaganack was built around Perry & Cass, which stands for responsibility and respectability.  Pam's daughter is not pregnant, but as a community figure and member of the school board, Pam must decide whether to stick up for Susan or remain silent.  Abby had a key role in involving the other girls in the pact but miscarried and isn't pregnant and outed the pregnancy pact to the school.  Susan also gropes with her complicated non-relationship with her own mother and her growing dependency on Rick, Lily's father.  Meanwhile, Lily realizes the reaction of the town to the pregnancy pact is much worse than she had anticipated, and her baby's sonogram reveals troubling news.

This story is told from multiple points of view, with Susan and perhaps Lily being the main protagonists, but we also get glimpses from other supporting characters.  This is a complex tale of friendship and loyalty, which bonds are the strongest, and what does it take to be a good mom?

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