Not Another Teen Pregnancy Book

              slam-hornby

I’m a sucker for a good unexpected pregnancy book. Or unexpected illness or death. Maybe I just like some drama and heartache? The novels I’ve read about teen pregnancy always follow the story of the mother and what she deals with as she grows a baby and decides what to do with it. I recently finished Slam by Nick Hornby, the pop culture darling who penned About a Boy and High Fidelity. Slam is narrated by a teen boy (Sam), and although I had some idea going into it that it might feature teen pregnancy, I didn’t realized it would be about Sam becoming a teen father. Sam is the product of teen parents. His father, still living the irresponsible life, is useless and his mother has done everything she can to become a normal parent. She isn’t trying to be Sam’s buddy, despite the fact that she was only 16 when she had him, and is actually a wonderful and attentive parent. Life might not be what she planned, but she’s made the best of a bad situation and is an admirable- and realistic- character, living proof that teen pregnancy doesn’t destroy everything. When Sam- who talks to a Tony Hawke poster and is obsessed with skating (the board kind)- gets his first real girlfriend and spends the next few months spending every waking minute with her, it becomes clear that things most likely won’t end well. Alycia, his girlfriend, is from a lovely family, and although she’s more, ahem, experience than Sam, the two find they have more in common than just raging hormones. So when Sam dumps Alycia (by just never texting her back) and she tells him she might be pregnant a few weeks later, you know things aren’t going to end well. In between running away, moving in with Alycia’s family, and getting loads of bad advice from his father, Sam narrates his new life as a soon to be teen father. The book flashes forward in the future, but never so far as to confuse or annoy the reader. In the end, Sam is left hopeful but hesitant and resigned to his life as the father of baby Roof. Hornby couldn’t have created a more realistic look at teen (and adult) pregnancy and parenting. The book doesn’t preach, but doesn’t hold anything back either. The writing style makes the book appealing to both girls and guys as well, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to the most reluctant of teen boy readers.

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