None right now

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lefty's Lowdown: Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin

Published: June 27, 2017 by Flatiron
Source: I received an electronic galley for review from the publisher via Netgalley, but all opinions stated in this review are 100% my own..
Summary from Goodreads:
In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.
 I was absolutely not prepared for this novel. It's one of those books that sounded interesting, so I requested it, but was not actually excited to read it. I should have been excited, though, because this book was fantastic! It had me hooked from the very beginning and I consumed it whole. It's emotional and complicated and angsty as heck. This is not a book you need to sleep on.

If there's one thing you need to know about me, it's that I love books that so fun stuff with formatting. And Aftercare Instructions does something I've personally never seen before in a book: The chapters alternate between standard formatting and playwright formatting. And boy did it work well! The sections that are standard formatting tell the Now story, following Gen as she tries to piece herself back together after her boyfriend Peter abandoned her while she was getting an abortion. The sections with the play formatting takes us back Before. When Gen and Peter's relationship first started to develop, and the two different sections collide to form one complex, heartbreaking narrative.

It was a strange experience, because as I was reading, I was falling in love with Past Peter, despite the knowledge that he did something really shitty to Gen Now. My feelings while reading this book were all over the place, because I wanted her to get back together with Peter but I also wanted her to move on with the cute, charming new guy she meets at a party. I got tangled up in Gen's life, and I felt like I was struggling and making decisions right alongside her. I really connected to her and experienced her growth with her.

Now, of course, this book deals with the subject of abortion, which is touchy for a lot of people. Personally, I admired the way Pipkin portrayed abortion as messy and complicated. It's not a simple choice that leaves you the second the fetus gets removed. But Pipkin also doesn't paint a portrait of someone's morals based on this decision alone.

This was such an edgy, emotional read, perfectly suited for those who like dark, heavier contemporary books. It got me thinking a lot and I sincerely hope that the people who need a book like this are able to find it.

My rating: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I have to say and give your opinion on it. It really means a lot to me. And of course, I will do my best to return the favor. However, as easily distracted and scatter-brained as I am, please don't be offended if I forget to comment on your blog.