Not My Daughter - Barbara Delinski
What does it take to be a good mother?
I have recently read 'My Sisters Keeper' by Jodi Picoult and was on the hunt for another book. On a visit to the library I found 'Not my daughter' by Barbara Delinski, and on the front the Daily Express was quoted in saying 'Fans of Jodi Picoult will love this'. Now, I have only read the one book by Picoult though that was enough to know that I loved her style and if this book was anything like it then I was sure I was on to another winner.
As of yet, I have not read any of Delinski's other books, so apart from the said similarity to Picoult, I had no previous expectations.
MY SISTER'S KEEPER
A pregnancy pact between three teenage girls stuns their parents, shocks the town and electrifies the media raising strong questions about what exactly it takes to be a good mother.
Straight away, the book captured my attention. Almost immediately I could see the similarity in style to that of Picoult making it a very easy read to begin with. Instantaneously we are drawn into the lives of the various characters. Like 'My Sisters Keeper' the book is written by various perspectives throughout, though in the main it focuses upon Susan Tate, the mother of one of the teenage girls who is also the principle of the local high school.
The characters themselves are really amazingly written. At no point did I find fault with their characterisations (even if I didn't like the characters!) and they were completely believable. The difficult moral aspects within the storyline are evened out much better by writing the story through the first person point of view and occasionally switching to another character, so in the end I found myself sympathising with the characters I originally disliked as, via their thoughts, I found some sense in their decisions. With such a difficult moral story to tell, the author has found a way to document it perfectly.
One aspect in which I found was not only written really well, but also added to the sensitive storyline and questions about what makes a good mother, was the fact that it was not only a story between the main mothers and their daughters, but also between the mothers and grandmothers. A tale which eventually covers four generations. I found this a perfect way to look into this emotional question and through this we get an even more well rounded story.
The action takes place in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business, and due to this the events become not only completely believable but also even more shocking, and I do not only mean the teenage pregnancy pact. If anything, this main storyline becomes the core of many other moral issues within the story which evidently focuses on motherhood and whether a person is a good or bad mother. I think that writing mainly from the view of the role model and professional mother of Susan, we are able to see that this type of action is not only narrowed to those without money, or other stereotypes that people like to place. We are also able to see how something like a teenager becoming pregnant as part of a pact can intensify if a person is in the limelight in some way or another and how other people react to circumstances which may have been forgotten or pushed aside if life was different.
From start to finish I felt that the style and storyline was extremely powerful. There is a lot of emotion within the pages from the emotional ties between mother and daughter being stretched to breaking point, to the characters own personal emotions between what is right and what is wrong, and the questions about morality which are raised to such a degree that I often found myself feeling very emotional.
The whole story is so well written that you can really see it all happening there in front of you. The author adds the right amount of spark with the right amount of information to keep the story rolling on with anticipation and emotion without being too overbearing. The language is calm and collected, though with the right amount of emotion put into it. If the character is feeling angry then I felt angry. Although an emotional story, I did not find myself reaching for the tissues. Perhaps this is because I can not relate personally to the main storyline, yet I can relate to the worry of feeling whether I am a good mum to my daughter and in that instance perhaps this is why I did feel emotional to a degree.
I was completely and utterly taken in to the story right from the very first page. The flow was very steady throughout, and at no point did I feel that there were slow moments. At times, the pace quickened in a timely manner depending on what was happening in the scene and this stood out in a great way and simply enhanced the focus of the scene. I was very surprised to find I had got through the book as quickly as I did though realised that I had been trying to capture every spare 5 minutes to read more of the story. It is so addicting, and although not a mystery book where you want to find out the end, it does make you want to reach the end to see how the relationships and scenarios work out. I held high hopes and expectations throughout and as the storyline unfolded perfectly, I was never disappointed. In a lot of ways I could see how it would all end, and there were no real twists and turns yet it still managed to keep me intrigued, and the ending was simply perfect. It rounded up the whole story well and even added an perfect epilogue to completely finalise the story. This epilogue is something I had hoped would happen and therefore left me with a complete and happy feeling once I shut the pages for the final time.
From start to finish, I absolutely loved this book. It is so moving and compelling and you just don't feel that you want to put it down. It is also very emotional, though not emotional enough to bring out the tissues in my case. This, though, is certainly not a bad thing! It deals with issues which are escalating in every day life these days and so will touch a nerve with many people and although I have never been in the situation, I felt that it was dealt with in a perfect manner.
Although I borrowed the book from the library, I am now going to purchase it as it is definitely a book I could read again. It is priced at £7.99 though an be found online for as little as £2.00 and is well worth the money.
Do I recommend this book? Most certainly!
Who do I recommend this book to? Anyone from a teenager upwards though I would imagine women would find this book more appealing than men.