I hope, Dear Readers, that you are appreciating my book-reviewing industry. I’ve been reading like mad with all the extra time spent eating, but have been then too busy to post. I’m making up for lost time now, and have, right now, only three books in queue waiting to be reviewed.
Today’s selection – unhappy but mythic pregnancy book #2, which is getting all sorts of applauds in teen lit circles.
Impossible by Nancy Werlin Lucy Scarborough is 17. Decently popular, on the track team, she also gets along very well with her foster parents, Soledad and Leo. Her biggest secret – from her friends at least – is that the crazy homeless woman who sometimes hangs around school, singing an odd variation on “Scarborough Fair”, is her mother. Then – wham-bang – Lucy turns 18, gets pregnant by rape, and finds that the song is a puzzle. She has until the baby is born to solve three impossible tasks posed in the song in order to save herself from insanity and break an ancient curse from an evil elfin knight. Though it takes some mental struggling, Lucy, her foster parents, and the boy who used to be next door but is now staying in the same house, decide to form a sort of Fellowship of the Ring rather than signing up for medication. Though they discuss alternatives both to this and to continuing the pregnancy in the first place, Lucy decides to keep the baby and she and Zach eventually fall in love and get married – Zach convincing her on the grounds that if he’s the legal father, the baby won’t be left in limbo if the quest fails. (Ever self-aware, Lucy is amused at how traditional people are as revealed by how pleased they are that she’s married.) These choices did set off my traditional-values blinkers a little, but it works in context – the love of parent for child and real love by choice opposed to the Elfin Knight, who says in the ballad, “She must be a true love of mine” – no choice given. The thing that bothered me most was that the Elfin Knight is obviously present through much of the story, but no one except the family dog recognizes him until very close to the end. These issues aside, I found myself discussing Lucy’s problems over dinner and couldn’t wait to find out how they would solve the problems and beat the Elfin Knight.