Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review: October Baby

Title: October Baby: a novel
Author: Eric Wilson and Theresa Preston
Genre: Fiction
My Rating: ****
Official Rating: Teen, Young Adult
Age Group: 16+

Hannah is a relatively normal girl with a few health problems (asthma, hip surgeries, etc). She has friends, parents who lover her, and a crush on her childhood friend. Why then does she always feel so empty?
At age nineteen, a terrible accident occurs which reveals to Hannah the truth behind her birth and all her medical problems. It might even explain the feeling of loneliness she has lived with all her life. In a desperate attempt to find out who she really is, she joins her childhood friend Jason, his girlfriend Alana, and four others on a Spring Break road trip. On the way, they will pass through Mobile, Alabama. It is there that she will find answers.
The question is: will she make it that far? And will the answers do her any good?

Word of Warning:
  • This is a story of abortion and survival. It follows that young women are pregnant before marriage, get abortions, and so on. Generally abortion is mentioned as a procedure. A child is born missing an arm because of a failed abortion attempt.
  • Children are aborted, unborn children are referred to as tissue and not children, and many of the other things which go with abortion.
  • Hannah's parents keep secrets from her. Later in the book we see that they have been struggling too, but early on it is hard to forgive them for not telling her the truth.
  • Hannah's parents let her decide whether to go on the trip or not, but strongly advise she not go. She goes anyway. Because of how they acted about the trip, she is in a certain sense going against their orders (almost).
  • Hannah and Jason end up sharing a hotel room, Hannah on the bed and Jason on the floor. She can't take it and leaves to spend the night in the lobby on a bench. Jason joins her.
  • Hannah says she's never been with someone, physically speaking. Jason says he hasn't either, and it was a hard choice ("I am a guy") but it was the right choice.
  • Depression is mentioned. Hannah has a "shrink."
  • There are two kisses at the end, presumably short and chaste. There is not much description.
  • The biggest thing to keep in mind is that this is the story of an abortion survivor.
My Thoughts
The story is beautiful. I would have given it five stars had the writing style not suffered far too often. Sometimes, it was a bad word choice, sometimes something was worded strangely, other times italics was not used. Many of the mistakes felt amateur and frustrating.
Other than the writing style mistakes, it is a beautiful story. For those of you who have seen the movie (if you haven't, do so right away*), there are more scenes with Jason and Hannah (along with more screen time for Truman, stronger moments for Alana, and others) that really add to the story. For those of you who have not seen the movie, the book is a very moving story about forgiveness. How does one face abortion, being a survivor? Hannah was not wanted. How does she come to terms with that? And Hannah's birth mother, what will she do? Characters have to face hard facts about life and the journeys they take are beautiful and incredible.
A story of beauty. A story of goodness.

*Although we do not have a review of October Baby (the movie) up at this time, the issues are generally the same when it comes to "Word of Warning" and the story really is the same when it comes to "Summary."


RealMom4Life said...

Loved the movie, would you still recommend reading the book? Is there more to it?

Maria Gianna said...

I probably would still recommend the book. Because of the added scenes, it was almost more powerful than the movie. It gave more depth to some of the minor characters, depth that was really important in making it an all-around beautiful story.
I'm not at all disappointed that the movie didn't include them (there simply was not enough room), but they really do add a lot to the story. Plus, it's a rather quick read due to the style.

robert kiyosaki said...

I am easily impressed, and not usually one of the types that judges a movie based on the book or vice versa...but in this case there was more depth to be found