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September 1, 2014

Review: The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others' expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process.

In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.
It's been quite a while since I've read anything nonfiction for fun, but I remember being intrigued by Gaby's story back when it first became a media frenzy. That said, I was willing to give it a chance, and it actually surpassed my expectations in the end.

Seventeen-year-old Gaby Rodriguez's life is a tale of beating the odds. It's about breaking stereotypes and overcoming hardships. I can't even begin to imagine how she managed to handle being raised under conditions of poverty in a single-parent household, surrounded by siblings with broken relationships and children of their own. Throughout my reading of The Pregnancy Project, I found myself repeatedly astounded by her ability to get by, let alone the fact that she managed to thrive even in harsh circumstances.

The Pregnancy Project is so much more than a slew of pregnancy statistics. It's thoughtful, it's deep, and it's provocative. This memoir encourages you to look beyond whatever ingrained views you may have about teenage motherhood, something that is highly disapproved of in modern society but almost never handled with the delicateness that it deserves, and truly opens your eyes to how drastically one moment of bad judgment could affect a young woman's social, mental, and emotional health almost immediately.

In terms of technical aspects, I think some of the text could have been cut to shorten it a bit. A few scenes, especially before the details of the project were revealed, seemed unnecessary. Nonetheless, however, it's a very quick read that flows in many ways like a YA contemporary. I'm glad I took a chance and delved out of my usual reading comfort zone, and I'd definitely recommend that everyone else do the same. There is a lot to be learned from The Pregnancy Project, especially if you've never been directly involved in or associated with a case of teen pregnancy.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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