Young Adult

“In Trouble” by Ellen Levine

Originally published at Good Reads.

Note:  this book will be released September 28, 2011.

I said I would try to be fair when reviewing this, and it will be hard for me. Oh well.

This is a book about abortion and the McCarthy hearings. It takes place in the mid ’50s. Two girls get “in trouble” (euphemism for pregnancy – one is raped and the other sleeps with her boyfriend and is dumped afterward). Of course, back then abortion was illegal and pregnancy out of wedlock was taboo and frowned upon.

I thought the prose was unremarkable, although I did like the little movie script interludes that show the main character’s thought processes (it is this method that details the rape, by the way).

It is very anti-McCarthy (I could say a lot about how much I cannot stand Communism, but I won’t say it here) and it is very pro-abortion and the author even mentions as much in the author’s note.

Some reviewers feel that this book portrays how difficult the decision to get an abortion really is, and that not all women just go “oh, I’m gonna get an abortion”. Well, that’s not what I read. The character that actually does get an abortion makes the decision as soon as she discovers she’s pregnant. The character who gives up her child for adoption is portrayed as naive and clueless, and the whole idea of adoption – giving up your child after carrying it for nine months – is portrayed as ridiculous, while the notion of getting an abortion is portrayed as wonderful, convenient, etc.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but this book did not change my mind about abortion. Then again, I am almost thirty years old. It might influence a teenager’s opinion on abortion. This is something parents should be mindful of when letting their kids read this book (it won’t be released until September, 2011).

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this book.

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