The Pregnancy Project
By Gaby Rodriguez with Jenna Glazer
Simon & Schuster • 2012 • 218 pages
Ages 14 and up
It’s the mother of an adolescent girl’s worst fear—her daughter coming home pregnant. We worry about how we’ll manage with another child, how we’ll explain it to our friends and family; and, most of all, how our daughter will cope. For many of us, these worries remain happily unaddressed, but in some families, teen pregnancy is so much a part of life as to seem inevitable. We know that teens who become pregnant are less likely to continue their education, more likely to be on Welfare, and more likely to have more children while still young.
Yet, it would seem that this situation should not be inevitable. Why does the pattern repeat? For Gaby Rodriguez, it was more than a metaphorical question. Her mother had her first child when she was just out of 8th grade. Her sisters had also become pregnant while in their teens. Gaby, an excellent student with strong humanitarian urges, wanted to do something meaningful for her senior project, so she decided to investigate teen pregnancy first hand—by faking it.
A resourceful girl, Gaby convinced teachers and administrators to allow her to conduct this experiment. She found community mentors who would stand behind her, and enlisted the support of her mother, boyfriend, and a few close friends. What she found out about the role of the community and family in making or breaking a teen mother’s fate, is both eye opening and disturbing enough to have garnered national attention for her project. In this smoothly written and engaging book, Gaby freely discusses the factors that either support or limit young Latinas in their quest to become successful adults. This is great reading for mothers and daughters that is sure to spark conversations about big issues.
—Reviewed by Ann Welton, Library Media Specialist, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA