November 24, 2020

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Unpregnant by Jenni Hedriks and Ted Caplan Takes Thelma and Louise Style Romp Releases 9/10 Via HarperTeen

This isn’t an easy review to write. It tore me down the middle. It isn’t because of my stance on abortion. That I’m clear on. I will always be pro-choice. It isn’t about my personal belief on the subject. For myself, I’m clear on that stance. My ultimate view is that no matter what I believe? I don’t have a right to impose that belief on anyone else. And then there is the matter of the good ol’ United States of America and its hypocrisy.

Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

It has never been pro-life. It is pro-fetus. Once that child is out in the world? It is on its own. There isn’t an education, food, clothing or shelter waiting for it. There isn’t supports for the mother/father/parents, whatever the situation. So, until this country gets off its collective asses and decides to be truly pro-life? Yeah. No. I will remain pro-choice.
I only say all this because I want to be clear on why this review tore me in half. It has nothing to do with my politics or beliefs. It is because the levity of the subject and the importance of the message within the book. Most of the time it isn’t what you are saying but how you say it. And while I get what Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan attempts to do, I’m not sure that it is the appropriate way to do it.
This was one of the rare times that before putting up my review that I did look at other reviews because I was just that torn. And truthfully, I seem to be the only one that feels that way. Most of the reviews are raving about the Thelma and Louise style romp that takes place when Veronica and Bailey set-off from Missouri to Arizona so that Veronica can have a legal, safe abortion.
Here is points I can agree with and I want to make clear.

  • I live in Missouri. This is not an outlandish scenario. Last I checked? There is one legal place in Missouri to have an abortion. So, this is not out of line
  • I would never say that the humor or situations that Veronica and Bailey run into are tasteless or so over the top that it outright makes light of a very serious situation. It isn’t just straight up out of line.
  • The relationship between Bailey and Veronica is very heartwarming. They would obviously do anything for each other. And in that situation? To quote Grey’s Anatomy? You want your person.

Here is what makes me cringe a bit:

  • Some of the situations feel forced.
  • The strippers.
  • A serial killer? Oh, come on? Really?
    • I have crisscrossed this country thousands of times. By myself. In the dead of night. There weren’t any strippers, serial killers or BIG PINK ELEPHANTS.
  • Car stealing- but why? I mean. No. REALITY.

Something else I want to mention. The father of the baby, Kevin. There seems to be some qualms with Kevin following them and I don’t understand why. Kevin is the father. Why wouldn’t he chase them down? Maybe he wants a say. I think that is kind of refreshing. I’m not saying he’s a good guy or that he didn’t make mistakes. Fine. But give the father a chance. That’s all. Let that story line play out and see where it goes.
Maybe it goes nowhere. Maybe it goes somewhere. I don’t want to say too much but at least give him a say. Let the conversation evolve. Either let the character fade out, which is the case many times, or let him chase them down and the hard conversation happens. One or the other. But to have him just chase them down and keep trying to foil their plans is a bit tiresome and keeps everything in limbo.
I’m sure people will argue I missed the point somewhere down the line. And maybe I did. I can only talk about how the story hit me. This is just one person’s opinion. Read it for yourself. It is a very personal topic, and everyone will take it very different ways, I’m sure. In all honesty, I seem to be very much in the minority on how I took the story and how it was delivered. I want to be very clear on that front.
I rarely check other reviews before I post mine, but I thought in this case it was important and I’m glad I did. It gives me a chance to be honest in the fact that I am in the minority in my opinion. This gives everyone a chance to take mine with a grain of salt and check other reviews and make their own decision.

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