Turning The Pages: ‘UNPregnant’ by Jenni Hendricks

If I am being honest, I can understand why it is that UNPREGNANT is so well received and loved. The book is beautifully written, the pacing is on track, the characters grow throughout the pages.

I can see why it is a book that is being made into a movie. I can see why people gave it rave reviews.

And I can see why it is that people are intrigued by the book.

Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never thought she would wish she’d failed a test until she finds herself holding a thick piece of plastic in her hands and staring at two solid pink lines. Even the most consistent use of condoms won’t prevent pregnancy when your boyfriend secretly pokes holes in them to keep you from going out-of-state for college.

Veronica needs an abortion, but the closest place she can legally get one is over nine hundred miles away—and Veronica doesn’t have a car. Too ashamed to ask her friends or family for help, Veronica turns to the one person she believes won’t judge her: Bailey Butler, Jefferson High’s own little black cloud of anger and snark—and Veronica’s ex-best friend. Once on the road, Veronica quickly remembers nothing with Bailey is ever simple and that means two days of stolen cars, shotguns, crazed ex-boyfriends, truck stop strippers with pro-life agendas, and a limo driver named Bob. But the pain and betrayal of their broken friendship can’t be outrun. When their fighting leads to a brutal moment of truth, Bailey abandons Veronica. Now Veronica must risk everything in order to repair the hurt she’s caused.

I can see so much in the pages of this book, because this book is something that needs to be talked about. It’s not just about friendship, it’s not just about pregnancy, but to me it’s about finding yourself in the hardest of times.

But why should you read it?

IT’S UNIQUE 

Stories that take on the harshest subjects, the most controversial ones, are not always easy to stomach. Voicing your opinion about them is the hard part. Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan find a way to take on the serious subjects – abortion, abandonment, pregnancy – and find a way to approach them so that you know that they are serious – but also find a way to make the book lighthearted and fun. And it’s a tricky thing because these are not lighthearted subjects at all.

UNPREGNANT does not stray away from the difficult things that Veronica has to go through. It doesn’t skip over the moral judgment, the misogyny, and the want for control over women’s bodies. But what UNPREGNANT does is take a chance to talk about women’s rights and make sure that we all know that there is so much more to the subjects than the things that we read and assume that one must be experimenting or going through.

The book inspires us to take a deep look at the rights that have been taken from us as women, the rights that we should fight for, and the rights that are unequivocally ours.

AN EXPLORATION OF FRIENDSHIP 

I think that friendship seems like an easy subject, but if we’re being real – there is nothing easy about friendship. It’s meaning is different to everyone, the complexity of it is strong and overwhelming at times. Friendship grows and it either grows together or apart. Finding the people that truly care about you – the people that want to see you – past the facade of perfection that we put on as people, the facade of happiness, and the facade of being what the world expects from you – is not easy. You will push people. You will welcome people. But you will find strength too.

The main characters in UNPREGNANT – they don’t seem like the most likely of friends. They both annoyed the shit out of me for different reasons. But what I did like about their friendship was that they both grew from it. They forced each other to find strength in the weakest of times.

The two were friends, grew apart, and then found their way back together. They force each other to find strength, to tear down walls, and to make sense of their lives – with the different paths that they have been on.

OTHER THOUGHTS

  • The annoying part was that the abortion part of this book felt glanced over and somewhat used sporadically, as a mechanism for shock value.
  • The characters grew, but they did not make me care for them to the point where I couldn’t live without them. I was fine not being invested in them, but more in the relevance of the story. However, had they made me invested more in the characters, I would have loved it instead of just seen what people see in it.
  • It wasn’t something seen in everyday YA and I feel like that is why a lot of people find the book to be so moving.
  • The book is somewhat problematic, because though it does touch on issues – it doesn’t touch enough. The issues are second fiddle, when they should be front and center.
  • This should be called what it is – a story about friendship. Not a story about a girl who wants an abortion.

UNPREGNANT is available now.

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