Saturday, April 14, 2012

She’s Having My Baby

Wendy McClure’s book Don't Trade the Baby for a Horse: And Other Ways to Make Your Life a Little More Laura Ingalls Wilder was slim, but awesome, which is something most of us would die to have said on our behalf. I also sped through Bumped, which was so strange. Apparently the premise came from someone off-handedly wondering about a world where only teenagers could get pregnant. Some teens turn pro, with agents to broker their surrogacy terms, while others stay amateur, get pregnant by any means necessary, and then sell the baby to the highest bidder. The religious few get married at 13 and become traditional wives & mothers.

The leads of Bumped, Harmony & Melody, are identical twins, abandoned at birth and raised very differently. Harmony is a pro, waiting for her contract to kick in, and Melody has run away from her sheltered church community to find Harmony and convince her to find God. There’s a lot of interesting commentary to be made about children having babies and about how even empowered girls are only valued as property, but McCafferty doesn’t really dwell on the philosophical, focusing more on the cool imaginary parts, drugs that compel the girls to pro-create but never grow any attachment to the babies and t-shirts that shrink and grow to emulate pregnancy bumps.

It’s not a book I recommend highly – knowing the premise is as good as reading the whole thing – but it was a quick read. After I finished it, I ran back to 1903 and Jean Webster’s When Patty Went to College. It was a refreshing glimpse of ankle after the neverending bumping of Bumped.


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