Monday, December 17, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Nonfiction Monday is a weekly meme in the Kidlitosphere that invites bloggers to read and review a nonfiction book on Monday as a way to promote high-quality nonfiction titles.  Each week, a different blogger "hosts" Nonfiction Monday and provides a roundup of all the posts.  This week Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Jean Little Library.

The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir by Gaby Rodriguez

Gaby's mom and older sisters all got pregnant when they were teenagers.  Her brothers were teen fathers.  By the time Gaby, the youngest, got to high school, it was pretty much accepted that she would meet a similar fate and wind up high school dropout with a baby and no future.  A good student with lots going for her despite the poverty in which she grew up, Gaby was determined that she would finish high school and go to college, defying the stereotype.  So when Gaby announced to her family, friends and teachers that she was pregnant, it wasn't so much a surprise as it was a disappointment.  Instead of rising above her destiny, she'd accepted it.  What they (aside from her mom, boyfriend, one sister and one teacher) didn't know, was that the pregnancy was fake.  For her senior project, Gaby wanted to see how people would react if she was pregnant. She worked with her mom to construct a baby bump and got her boyfriend to agree to go along with it (and not tell his parents).  What would people say to her face? Behind her back? Would teachers still believe in her?  The Pregnancy Project  details Gaby's project from start to finish.  In addition to sharing her personal story, the book also includes a variety of statistics and research about teen pregnancy.

Honest and insightful, The Pregnancy Project is an intriguing look into the world of teenage pregnancy and the cycle of poverty.  Rodriguez does not shy away from topics of religion, class or race, instead embracing the stereotypes and digging deep to see how stereotypes can be damaging.  While television shows like Teen Mom make overnight celebrities out of high school girls who become young mothers, Gaby's story does just the opposite.  There is nothing glitzy about her story.  Though in the end her story did turn into international news, it did so because it was a hoax.  The meat of the story though, is about the struggles Gaby faced: the hurtful things people said about her, the way she was treated disrespectfully, the times she wanted to just give up on the project and tell everyone the truth.  While it won't win any literary awards, it covers an important topic and in a new way that has lots of teen appeal.

Recommended for: high school girls...and boys of all races, religions and economic classes.  I could definitely see this being used as part of a high school health curriculum and starting some really engaging discussions among students.  Lots to talk about.

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