NOT MY DAUGHTER
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
A thought provoking story with a touch of warmth for the heart
As parents we have dreams of how we want to raise our children and who they will become, what they will do with their lives and we expend so much energy helping to mold them into responsible adults. But when the reality of our dreams and aspirations collide head on with the reality of what our children decide to do on their own the results from these decisions can be catastrophic and life altering for both parent and child.
This is played out when three 17-year old girls who are lifelong friends decide that instead of the amazing future that their parents have planned for them another idea makes more sense – having a baby. The girls decide to get pregnant at the same time and raise their children to be a new generation of friends. While each of them comes from a different home life the intricacies of this has always drawn them closer together to shelter each other and provide encouragement. But once they become pregnant and begin to tell their families the fall out that ensues is nothing that they expected or are prepared to deal with. While the anticipation of school friends and teachers perhaps looking poorly upon them was expected what erupts is not against the girls themselves but their mothers and the sacred institution of motherhood and how these women as mothers failed their children. In particular for Lily whose mother, Susan, is the principal of the high school they all attend is singularly called out in large part not only because Susan is the high school principal. Not only is the backlash at her for setting a poor mother role model to the community but also as an ineffective principal based solely on the fact that she herself was a single mother that had a child at 17. Susan fights for her right to remain as principal but the friends she has always relied upon for moral support are also the mothers of the other girls involved and are struggling with their own inner demons and home issues. While preparing for every possible obstacle that comes up and trying to fight off the nay sayers what Susan never anticipated was that this chaos would cause old ghosts from her experience at 17 to reappear as she thought they were gone if not completely forgotten.
Even after Susan worked hard to build a life for Lily and spent so much time on trying to show her what she could have Lily thought she knew exactly what she wanted and that want was a baby of her own. The anger Susan feels at all of her dreams erupting in the blink of an eye fades away as the town erupts with anger and the school board is asking for Susan’s resignation. However, as the story unfolds you see how strong women are as not only mother’s but as a person in the household and the community because when pushed they will shove back regardless of how much stronger the opponent appears.
When it is then discovered that there was yet another girl involved who it turns out was the master mind behind the pact to become pregnant new conflicts with the friends and the girls erupt. But everything comes to a screeching halt when Lily’s baby has a serious health issue that must be contended with and all the inner battles being fought come to a halt as everyone rallies around the one person that needs the most love and attention right now – Lily’s baby.
You can never use enough positive words to describe a Barbara Delinsky book because they are such an amazing read. Perfection does not even come close, wonderful is an understatement and enjoyable is never strong enough. Ms. Delinsky’s books tell a story yes, but her books draw you into lives that are complicated, situations that are intense and relationships that are imperfect. This book shows that while we are judged the accuser is usually the one with something to hide while you are airing out the laundry for all the neighbors to see. This book in particular show you how regardless of what is thrown at a woman when she is in mother mode there is nothing that will stop her from tackling down anyone who dare besmirch that child. No one is the perfect parent, we each have our demons to battle and baggage to hand off but we do the best we can and this book clearly shows that living in a brick house is much better than a glass one!
Mary Gramlich (“The Reading Reviewer”) www.marygramlich.com