Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin | ARC Review

Friday, June 9, 2017
Title: Aftercare Instructions
Author: Bonnie Pipkin
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy “Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything. As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage. This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.

What I thought

To be honest with you, I requested this book because the cover looked awesome and because I'm always down for some coming-of-age type stories. Then, upon reading the synopsis and finding out it's a book about a girl dealing with the repercussions of an abortion I decided it to just dive in and read it. I've got to say I wasn't disappointed and quite enjoyed this book. 

The book opens up with Genesis being left at a Planned Parenthood by her boyfriend Peter. Reasonably, I detested Peter for just leaving her there at first. However, by the end I came to understand some of his motivations. He, after all, came from a deeply religious family and he was dealing with the abortion his own way. Was it a crappy way? Yes, but it was his way. There's no right or wrong way to react, I should think. Genesis, on the other hand, I found likable and unlikable at the same time. Odd combination, I know. There were moments where I couldn't stand her and found her selfish and others were my heart went out to her. As for the rest of the cast, they were all colorful in their own way and I would have liked a little bit more character development for their part.

As for the writing itself, I was expecting some Jandy Nelson vibes based on the synopsis, but it wasn't really like that. Pipkin has her own style and it's not as poetical as Nelson. This is in no way bad, just not what I was expecting. The book itself is told in prose and play format (which I wasn't expecting but liked) with the present being told in prose and the flashbacks being told in play format. I would have liked a little bit more of the whole theater aspect of the book to be explored more, too. However, there were some really gorgeous passages of writing in the book and I enjoyed Gen's voice.

Over all this was a very enjoyable contemporary about the what to do in the face of being hurt by various thins: family, friends, relationships, and ultimately an abortion. I wouldn't call it a book about abortion, but rather a book about a girl who went about finding herself after being confronted with so much hurt.

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