i picked this book up randomly at the library yesterday when I was looking for a Lee weeks book. They didn't have what I wanted in stock and I ended up with this somehow. It sounded interesting enough so I thought I'd have a read.
Outline of the story:
Lana Spriggs is 15, and she's already planned her life. She wants her mother out the way so she can get married and have babies of her own. When she meets slightly older Les, she thinks this is the beginning of her dream, but when she get's pregnant unexpectedly, will it be the fairytale she dreamt of?
I thought this would make an interesting read, because I've been there and had the gorgeous husband, big house and labrador dream myself when I was young, and I had my children, and now I've got greandchildren. Although it is amazing and I don't regret it, I struggled and I thought it was the hardest thing I ever did, and I certainly wasn't 15 years old when I started! I was interested to see the story told from a younger point of view.
The story follows Lana meeting Les, getting pregnant, having the baby and the first few months of motherhood so you get a good view of how this would affect a teenager. I think Dyan Sheldon should have spent a little more time on the actually pregnancy, because she sums it up in about 5 pages, which I didn't really think was detailed enough, and she barely mentions the birth, which is one of the biggest things.
It didn't help Lana at all that she couldn't stand her mother, so even when she tried to help, she'd get called all the names under the sun and her motives would be questioned. This irritated me, because as annoying as I know mums can be, they do have your best interest at heart. Even though I was married when I had my children, I'd have been lost without my mum. It also annoyed me throughout the book how the sun seemed to shine out of her boyfriend's backside when I'm sure every reader cringed when they read the things he did while she was pregnant and after the baby was born, but I suppose it is through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl who is going to be more naieve than me.
I thought it was good that the book was realistic, she didn't paint any rosy pictures of pregnancy and sleepless nights, she made the reality sound as harsh as it can be. I think this would be an ideal book to circulate in high schools across the country, perhaps it will reduce the number of teenagers getting pregnant when they realise a baby isn't like a doll, it really does change your life! After baby Shinola is born, Lana makes it clear that she realises she can't do the things she did before, even the simplest thing like catching a bus becomes a task and a half when you've got a baby and pushchair thrown into the equation.
Sheldon did a fairly good job at portraying emotion throughout the book. Lana's character goes through a huge contrast, from being a care free fifteen year old to a mum with bills to pay and a baby to feed. She shows this transition well, and gives you a good idea how the character is feeling. The only lack of emotion I thought there was was towards her boyfriend Les. He seemed to be able to tell her anything and swan off to do his own things and she never seemed bothered. I know what I'd have done if my husband would have been like that when I was pregnant!
Overall, I did enjoy this book. The main character, Lana was your typical fifteen year old, witty know-it-all whose life is changed dramatically. I found it both entertaining and interesting to read, and because it's not a really long book, I managed to read it it one evening which is a credit to the author because I don't usually sit for more than half an hour with a book before getting bored. I'd recommend this book to others, but I'd borrow it from the library, it's not really worth buying it because you'll have read it in one day and it's not something you want to read over and over.
All Lana Spriggs wants out of life is to have her own family. Even at fifteen, she knows that she'll only be happy out of her mothers clutches and safely in the arms of her own Leonardo DiCaprio lookalike complete with children. When Lana meets Les she truly believes she's found The One and when she manages to get pregnant without even trying, Lana sees her dream emerging in front of her very own eyes. The truth, however, is very different from the fantasy and not only does Lana have to deal with being pregnant at fifteen but it also turns out that motherhood isn't exactly the walk in the park she had imagined. Is Lana able to keep her fantasy going or is the harsh reality of motherhood going to cause everything to fall around her ears?
With my bookshelves broadening with Young Adult books, I still keep my eyes open for authors that sounds like I would enjoy. On GoodReads one day I saw a book called "My Worst Best Friend" and the thing that struck me about the book was it's cover so I did a quick Amazon search and saw it was by Dyan Sheldon (the book, not the cover) and that, luckily enough, she had a new book coming out called And Baby Makes Two which I was able to pre-order half price. Not wanting to pass up such a beautiful looking book I quickly ordered it and awaited it's arrival. I was browsing my shelves for a bit of light reading and saw that at just over 200 pages And Baby Makes Two was going to be my reading choice on that particular night.
Although I said And Baby Makes Two was a new release, it's actually a re-release and was originally published in 2000 which makes more sense as to why the book appears to be set in the nineties (Discmans, oh how I miss thee). I was interested to see how Dyan Sheldon would write a teenage pregnancy - we've seen and read it loads of times, after all - and it's fair to say that Lana is much like most teenage girls you see on Jeremy Kyle - thinking a baby means happiness and happy every after et al when in reality it's not all sweetness and light. The way in which Dyan portrays it makes it sound so unglamorous that any youngster even thinking of having a baby ought to be given this book to read. It would definitely make them think twice.
Of course before the baby actually comes along, Lana already seems to have troubles as her relationship with her mother is tenuous to say the least. It's due to her mother (kind of) that Lana meets Les, in McDonalds of all places. At first it seems like the dream relationship - as dreamy as a relationship can be when you're a) lying about your age and b) keeping him away from your mother. It all starts to go wrong there after as Lana finds herself pregnant at fifteen and Les isn't exactly jumping with joy. The months pass fairly quickly and Lana's pregnancy isn't too much a focal point though it is enough, as I said, to put any teenager off wanting to have a baby. The most impact of the entire book comes after Lana has had her little girl and Dyan Sheldon is able to ram home the message that looking after a baby really isn't as fun as it may sound.
I admit I found myself cringing as Lana struggles to deal with her little girl. I could see how hard it was and I found myself also getting annoyed at Lana at times because when she moaned about not being able to go out with friends and things I just thought she was being utterly selfish. Having to deal with a screaming baby was what she had signed up for and for her not to know how it was really going to be was rather naive. The fact that she also refused her mother's help - calling her all names under the sun in the process - made it all the worse. I struggled to truly see why Lana and her mother didn't get on and I thought Lana acted petulantly whenever her mother came up in the book (which was regularly and not without the names - Wicked Witch being a firm favourite). I did like Lana though, even though I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and give her a good shake for being so naive and stupid but it's to be expected because she is only 15. No one else really hung around for the entire book, bar Lana's mum who I actually didn't mind. Les, Lana's kinda boyfriend, does pop up from time to time but I never really liked him.
I really enjoyed And Baby Makes Two, it was an incredibly quick read and it only took me around 3 hours to complete the entire book, which makes for a good evening read I must say! There's nothing like being able to start a book one night and finish it before going to bed. It's a testament to Dyan Sheldon's writing that I pretty much read it in one sitting and I'll definitely be on the look out for Dyan's other books! If you're looking for a bit of light reading, this is well worth picking up and, to be honest, every teenager even contemplating having a baby ought to give this a read. It'll put you off for life.