Friday, February 10, 2017

A Review of 'The Pregnancy Project' by Gaby Rodriguez

Image result for the pregnancy project"Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom.  After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider's perspective, it was practically a family tradition.  Gaby had ambitions that didn't include teen motherhood.  But she wondered: how would she be treated if she 'lived down' to others' expectations?  Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future?  These questions sparked Gaby's school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react.  What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process.

In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy-- hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend's parents-- and reveals all that she learned from the experience.  But more than that, Gaby's story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself."

Prior to beginning my student teacher, my cooperating teacher sent me the list of summer reading that students received and asked me to read as many as possible.  This was, I think, the first one I chose.  I was drawn in by the bright colors of the cover and the fact that the word "project" went along with "pregnancy" was intriguing to me.

I was surprised that this was a true story to begin with.  At Gaby's school, seniors are expected to produce a final project on a topic they care about.  Being the excellent student she is, Gaby started thinking about this project early and began planning everything.  She planned what her bump would look like and feel like, she planned what she would say and do to make her pregnancy convincing, and she planned who she would tell amongst her friends.  After that, she only had to live her life as a pregnant woman and listen and observe what others were doing and saying about her.  The whole thing is equal parts bizarre, since we're in on her secret, and illuminating as we hear what others say about her.

This book does an amazing job of highlighting what stereotypes exist for pregnant mothers in their teens.  I love that Gaby didn't just do a surface-level project but took a topic that has affected her family many times over (including her own mother) and blew it wide open for everyone to see.  It was very brave of her and I love that she forced everyone to confront their own prejudices about teen pregnancy, especially those mothers who decide to keep their child and raise them.  But she doesn't just challenge the people who were physically present for her presentation, she continues to challenge readers to examine their own thinking and check themselves.

If you're looking for a true story and a relatively quick read (I was able to finish in a few days), this is a great book to grace your bookshelf and that will pique the interest of young people in your life.

I give 'The Pregnancy Project':
Thanks for Reading!


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