Thursday, June 28, 2012
225. the FIRST PART LAST
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Bobby's a classic urban teenager. He's restless. He's impulsive. But the thing that makes him different is this: He's going to be a father. His girlfriend, Nia, is pregnant, and their lives are about to change forever. Instead of spending time with friends, they'll be spending time with doctors, and next, diapers. They have options: keeping the baby, adoption. They want to do the right thing.
If only it was clear what the right thing was.
What Hooked Me:
As much as I talk about, worry about and preach against teenage pregnancy almost everyday as part of counselling teenagers during their annual physicals, I think this is the first book that I have read that actually brings the crisis to life from the teenage boy/father's point of view. I saw the other side I seldom think about. This short novel reads real, the writing infused with enough tenderness to soften the helplessness of the situation. I will definitely be recommending it from now on.
'My mom says that I didn't sleep through the night until I was eight years old. It didn't make any difference to her 'cause she was up too, listening to the city. She says she used to come into my room, sit cross-legged on the floor by my bed, and play with my Game Boy in the dark.'(opening lines)
'I've been thinking about it. Everything. And when Feather opens her eyes and looks up at me, I already know there's change. But I figure if the world were really right, humans would live life backward and do the first part last. They'd be all knowing in the beginning and innocent in the end.'(6)
'This little thing with the perfect face and hands doing nothing but counting on me. And me wanting nothing else but to run crying into my own mom's room and have her do the whole thing.'(12)
'But then I realize. I've done it. I know something. I know something about this little thing that is my baby. I know that she needs me. I know what she does when she just needs me.
No big screaming thing.
Just a whimper, then she only wants me.'(13)
'I want to say to this woman who'd always been nice to me and listened when I complained that damn it, I didn't feel good, I was tired, I didn't know where I was going to lay down in a few hours, and by the way could she just write me a note and get me out of this?
It didn't have to be a long note.
It didn't have to tell anything about a medical condition.
It just had to get me out of staying awake at night, changing diapers every hour, and doing nothing except think of the yawning little thing in the white booties, whose baby carrier was all I wanted to be in.
I just want a note to get me out of it.
Just one note.'(19)
'My stomach is hurting by the time that question is out of his mouth and into the air. I don't say; it's not up to me. I don't say; whatever I want, I can't say. My dad already told me now was the time to shut my mouth. What Nia wants is what it's all about.
'As long as my mouth is moving, she's happy. As long as sound is coming out of it, the whole world is just fine for my caramel, sweet-faced, big-eyed baby; who's killing me, and keeping me so tired I can't keep my eyes open.'(30)
'Her eyes are the clearest eyes I've ever seen.
Sometimes she looks at me like she knows me. Like she's known me forever, and everything I ever thought, too. It's scary how she looks at me.
And she's so new Been on the the planet for only a few months. I been thinking about it a whole lot lately. I feel old.
I feel old when I wake up at three thirty in the morning and change her diaper, then change it again when she pees right after I put her sleeper back on. ...
I really feel old when I'm holding her on the subway and some lady tells me what a good brother I am and how I'm so good with her. I feel stooped over then. You'd think I'd feel young.'(52)
'Afterward I always kiss her, my baby, and look into her clear eyes that know everything about me, and want me to be her daddy anyway.'(53)
'I can tell you how it feels sitting in the window with Feather pointing out the creek that rolls past our backyard. I can tell you how it is to feel as brand new as my daughter even though I don't know what comes next in this place called Heaven.'(82)
a Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers Nook Edition