Book Review: The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

A few years ago I heard about Gaby Rodriguez, an American high school student who for her senior year project faked a pregnancy, wearing a fake belly and keeping up the ruse to everyone aside from a handful of trusted confidants (best friend, boyfriend, mother and a couple of teachers). She then kept a record and made a presentation about how her classmates and the staff reacted to her being a teen mother-to-be.

pregnancy project

It was an extremely interesting idea and exposed some negative responses and Rodriguez felt the burden of being the centre of all the hallway gossip at school and the way many people talked about her behind her back, writing her off despite being an intelligent young lady and a good student.

This book recounts her experiences and the aftermath which saw her thrust into the media spotlight. I’d heard of the story before so added the book to my wishlist because I thought it made a great book and would be an interesting read.

I was sorely disappointed.

While Rodriguez is clearly smart and her project a good one, I just didn’t engage with this book as much as I thought I would. The problem lies mainly in the writing style. Rodriguez (assisted by Jenna Glatzer) is not a fantastically interesting writer, with a lot of it being rather dull and it all whips along slightly to quickly. She tells us of the whispers but it’s dealt with very quickly, and the whole “pregnancy” flies by. I’d have much preferred a slightly longer book that dug a little deeper.

For example, Rodriguez’s boyfriend, was in on it while his parents were not. Their response is mentioned only in passing, with them cast as some kind of villains for saying that he’d messed up his life and not taking it well. More on how others felt when the truth was revealed would have been nice.

Also, there’s a jarring hypocrisy at times. Rodriguez talks about how young pregnancy has made the lives of her siblings rougher, and preaches responsibility, admitting to “lecturing” her friends about it, and yet she is outraged by the judgement of others. On a personal level there were issues I disagreed with her on, such as the abortion debate, but on the whole I just felt that this book lacked anything resembling an edge or deep examination of the effects.

The project was a good idea, and there are flashes of interest and insight, but on the whole this just left me cold.

Verdict: Rodriguez seems nice enough and her project idea is a winner, but lacklustre writing and a lack of depth left me extremely disappointed, a missed opportunity. 4/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. ETEO.

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