Title: The Pregnancy Project
Hardcover, 218 pages
Author: Gaby Rodriguez and Jenna Glatzer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Add to: Goodreads
It started as a school project…but turned into so much more.
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.
I’m a self proclaimed memoir fan. Before I got into the YA thing, I read a LOT of memoirs. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is my favorite, and I also love Jen Lancaster. So when I saw that there was a memoir in the YA genre I thought to myself, hey! They made this for me! Or not for me, but people like me. You know what I mean.
I had heard a bit about Gaby Rodriquez before the book and movie thing started. I read a news article about her – if you haven’t heard of her before, basically she faked pregnancy as part of a senior project and recorded the reactions from students. Needless to say, the project was a hit (after she revealed herself), and most people didn’t have very much nice to say when they thought she was actually pregnant.
I am not very satisfied with the memoir version of her story, which makes me a bit sad. I did learn a lot about Gaby and her family, but it was all told in a narrative, which meant very little dialogue at all. The memoirs I enjoy the most bring the reader back to whatever memory they are recounting instead of speaking as if they are sitting there telling you a story about it, so I missed that submersion into Gaby’s life. It also means that the book got dry from time to time because there wasn’t a lot going on and it was in that narrative voice.
It is an interesting story, though! Gaby gave a lot of background on her family’s life and why she chose to do that project. Just not very engaging with the reader.
I wish that the YA genre could have more memoirs, but I suppose that once someone passes a certain age it’s not really YA anymore, so it’s kind of a hard thing to publish. So I’ll give this one an okay rating and move back to my contemporary books, which are kind of sort of memoirs :)