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Book Review: Not My Daughter

Author: Barbara Delinshy

Publisher: Doubleday, 2010

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Format:  Audiobook / Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Source: Public Library

My Rating: B+

Susan is a successful high school principal in a small town in New England, although it hasn’t always been easy. She was kicked out of home at seventeen when she was pregnant and refused to have a abortion or marry the baby’s father.

She worked her way through college and a teaching career. A few years ago Susan was promoted to the principal’s job. Parents and the superintendent are happy with her performance.

Susan believes she has done a good job as a mom. Her daughter Lily, now seventeen, is a good student, has good values, and is very responsible.

And then – Susan learns that Lily is pregnant. A few weeks later she learns that Lily’s two best friends are also pregnant. All three girls are smart, popular, and college-bound. It doesn’t make sense. It turns out it’s all because of a pact the girls made with each other. They agree to get pregnant and raise their babies together.

When the superintendent and the school board finds out, things spiral out of control. Everyone wants to blame someone and Susan is a good target. After all, she’s the principal. In the past Susan has been able to speak honestly to students about her own experience, cautioning safe sex. Now many in town believe she set a bad example. It’s her fault and Susan’s career is in jeopardy.

The three normally responsible teenage girls didn’t bargain for all the hoopla that erupted. They didn’t think how this would effect everyone around them. The whole situation really blows up when the story hits the local newspaper and then the national media.

I’ve always enjoyed Barbara Delinsky’s stories. She usually tackles an honest issue affecting women. She gives us a look at how an issue is seen from multiple angles. In this case the story revolves around what it means to be a good, responsible mother. Do the acts of the children lead to the label of good mother or bad mother? And, what lessons can the new moms-to-be learn from this.

Barbara Delinsky usually gives us a bit of romance in her stories, as she does in this one, but not overdone. And it’s not the main plot line. Ms. Delinsky is also very respectful of the characters she presents. Most of them are more than one dimensional and I always feel they are real people.

I believe Not My Daughter was based on a real “pregnancy pact” that was in the headlines a few years back. I liked looking at the situation from the viewpoint of the various people involved.

I listened to this book on audio-cd. It was read by Cassandra Campbell who did an excellent job, with so many characters in the story. I liked the way she did the Maine accent too.

Check your local library and your local bookstore for copies of this book. Not My Daughteris also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

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