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When Susan Tate's 17-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy both for Lily and herself.
Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school seniors who happen to be Lily's best friends - and the town turns to talk of a pact. But criticism of the girls quickly becomes criticism of their mothers, especially of Susan, who holds a visible position in town. As principal of the high school, she is considered a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. Susan is still struggling with the personal implications of her daughter's pregnancy, when she hears calls for her resignation.
But what of her close friendship with the two other moms? Are they any less at fault than she is? The friendships suffer - but shouldn't loyalty trump community pressure? And what of a fourth friend, who has power enough to minimize the fallout but whose own daughter has a murky tie to the pact?
Set in a small Maine town that cherishes responsibility, Not My Daughter raises many issues, not the least of which is the age-old question: What does it take to be a good mother?
At first I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, but I'm really glad I did. I can identify with the main character as a mother, and it really stopped to make me think 'what if my boys came home one day and told me they were going to be a father'. All the questions that are raised in this book about what makes a good mother definitely ran through my mind. If my child fails in society is it my fault, or is it all on her/him? Did I not spend enough time teaching them right from wrong, good from bad? Did they do this to draw attention to themselves from others or to get attention from me? The relationship between mother and daughter is tested, in what I think, are very real emotions and thoughts.
I did feel a little disappointed in the ending, wishing she would have put a little more focus on the daughter's labor and birth. But it really is a book based on how a mother feels and what she goes through, despite it being about a teenage pregnancy, so I can understand why she ended like she did.
The author has said that she got the idea from a spike in teenage pregnancies in Massachusetts and from all the attention Sarah Palin's daughter received being 17 and pregnant. We all admit to rolling our eyes at that mess (and I'm not even American lol), but after I read this book and then found out that's where she got her idea, it really does make you stop and wonder how exactly Palin felt being a mother in that situation.
I'd rate it a 4/5 and definitely recommend it.
Thank you tasha_mae for the awesome siggy!
Last edited by bluebutterfly; February 16th, 2010 at 12:24 PM.