Sunday, May 17, 2020

Unpregnant, by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan

Veronica Clarke is a stone's throw away from graduating and being her class's Valedictorian.  She's popular and surrounded by similarly popular friends.  She's also pregnant and watching in desperation as her plans for the future vaporize around her.  She can't let her friends or family find out.

She knows from the start that she wants to terminate the pregnancy but the closest abortion clinic (that won't notify her parents) is in New Mexico -- a thousand miles away from her in Missouri.  She doesn't have a car and is loathe to confide in any of her friends.  But there is one person who could help: her nemesis and former best friend Bailey.  Bailey hates her just enough to be willing to help her get to Albuquerque.  A very funny road trip ensues.

Obviously, if you have strong feelings about abortion, this book's probably not for you.  While not quite a comedy, it certainly doesn't dwell for too long on the ethics of the procedure.  But while light-hearted and even funny at parts, the story is serious when it needs to be.  It succeeds largely by side-stepping the usual tropes (guilt, mourning, and anger) that usually feature.  Instead, we get treated to some spunky feel-good celebration of independence and liberation, and whole array of crazy guest appearances.

Overshadowing the story for me was the announcement on the cover that the book is already optioned for a cable movie (at this time, in post-production, with no release date announced).  That proved very distracting as I kept trying to imagine how all of this would look on film.  To be honest, the story really isn't strong enough to merit a film, but it probably won't suck either -- pretty much like the book.

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