Not My Daughter

Book: Not My Daughter

Author: Barbara Delinsky

Short Summary:
Susan Tate was a single mother at 17. Shunned from her family, she moved out to Maine to start a life for herself and her daughter, Lily. 17 years later, when Lily announces that she is pregnant, Susan, now the principal of the local high school, is stunned. It is soon revealed that two of Lily’s best friends, Mary Kate and Jess, are pregnant as well. The girls, all good students and role models in the school, entered into a pregnancy pact. They had the idea it would be a good idea to go through pregnancy and raise their children together. Being in a position of authority and someone the people of the town view as a role model, Susan’s character and position as a mother is being scrutinized. Throughout the story, Susan struggles to be a good mother, accept Lily’s pregnancy, and deal with a town that is turning their backs on her.

My Thoughts:
I listened to the audio version of this book, and it made for a light, easy listen on the way to work. The plot was very easy to follow and the writing at times seemed simplistic, yet enjoyable.

I really liked the character of Susan. She was a strong woman, good educator, and caring mother put into a very difficult position. She had the tough job of defending her daughter, her actions as a mother, and maintain her position as high school principal, all while trying to keep her sanity. I admired her struggle and how she handled herself throughout it.

Lily, however, annoyed the hell out of me. Her friends, Mary Kate and Jess did as well. I was interested in learning what would drive teenage girls into something like a pregnancy pact, but I’m not sure the story answered this question. These girls were just plain foolish about being mothers, which I found inconsistent with their characters who were all good students and never had any trouble in school. Sometimes listening to their reasons for wanting to be teenage moms just made me cringe and wonder if I was that naive as a teenager.

The one big question asked throughout the story was “What makes a good mother?” This is not an easy question and there is no easy answer. Susan loved her daughter, taught her well, and cared for her. Still Lily wound up pregnant, just as Susan had been at 17. Does her daughter getting pregnant make her a bad mother? Should she have watched Lily every second or trusted that she raised her to make intelligent choices? Is someone whose own daughter gets pregnant capable of running a high school full of impressionable teens? These are all questions to ponder while reading this story.

I would recommend this book. It may not be the best piece of literature ever written, but it certainly raised important questions and ones that could lead to long, in-depth discussions.

My Rating: 3.75/5 stars

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6 Responses

  1. I agree with you on a lot of points about this book. The writing wasn’t the best, but the book raised a lot of issues about what makes a good mother.

  2. Interesting question. I think even the best parents can have trouble competing with peer influence. It’s so hard to know; I think parenting is very scary!

  3. I do have this one on my TBR! I hope to read it some time.. I once had to give it back because I didn’t have the time to read it. Good review.

  4. I’d like to read this one. I am curious about why girls would do this. I have heard buzz here and there but have little insight. Thanks for the review.

  5. Julie, I finished listening to this book this week and love your review and discussion. I picked up this book only because I happened to see the audio version at the library – and my book club had a book discussion with Delinsky last year.

    At that time she was in the middle of writing the story, it was interesting to hear how she researched the book, the angle she wanted to write vs what was published. I remember her mentioning that she didn’t get to pick the title.

    I will link your review to mine (hopefully next week). Have a great weekend.

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