by Jessica L Degarmo
Published Oct 2011 by Taylor Street Publishing
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
SIX WEEKS FOR LIFE OR DEATH ......
In 'Six Weeks', Jessica L. Degarmo departs from the style of her very successful Romance novels - 'Hooking Up', 'The Storm Within', 'Decisions' and 'How To Meet A Guy In The Supermarket' - to examine every teenage girl's nightmare: that she is pregnant and not certain she's ready for a child.
It is a life and death decision – not her life, but her decision - and despite the opinions of those around her, she is on her own.
In a world of gray, one thing is black and white. Six weeks is her deadline to decide.
Maybe you have been there, in which case you will understand.
Note: Six Weeks is a book I purchased for my own reading pleasure, though I have asked the author if I could feature her on this site in an interview. This book is very hard to review because I'm trying to keep my own political and religious views separate from my opinions about the actual story. But, in our current political climate, it's impossible not to have an opinion about the issues addressed in this book. It's difficult to review this book without allowing personal views to intervene, but I will try. Jessica Degarmo certainly does her best to explore these issues without inserting her opinions into the story--and she succeeds quite nicely.
My Review: It was hard to put this book down. Degarmo gets right to the heart of the matter on the very first page by introducing the main character, Imogene (Immy), and her predicament. Immy is young, unmarried, and pregnant. She has six weeks to make a decision that will affect not only her and the embryo growing inside her, but everyone else in her life as well.
Good literature is about stepping outside our own lives and experiencing someone else's. And, that's what this book does. This book is a journey into Immy's life. Her pregnancy and what to do about it is her most pressing problem, but it isn't the only one. The pregnancy brings to light everything else that's going on in her life. No longer is she able to approach life with her usual acceptance and apathy; the blinders are off and she now views her life and her living situation for what it really is. Immy's emotions and reactions aren't always pleasant. She doesn't always make the best decisions and I don't always like what she has to say. Sometimes, Immy is downright frustrating. But, she is real and her reactions are reflective of a real-life, troubled nineteen-year-old. Her emotions are clouded by pregnancy hormones, a horrible upbringing, an abusive mother, and the fact that she has more responsibilities than an average college-age person. Degarmo does a wonderful job helping the reader see things through Immy's eyes and feeling her emotions. We agonize over her decision. We feel her confusion. We cry (at least I did) when she must make a series of difficult decisions that have nothing to do with the pregnancy--and everything to do with it.
Overall, this novel is literary fiction at it's best. There's no sugar-coating, no cotton-candy moments, and nothing magical happens to make everything fall into place. The characters are real. The situations they face are identical to what real people are experiencing in real life. This is a cold, sobering wave of reality. If you're looking for romance and happy endings, you won't find it here. But, if you're looking for a thought-provoking, well-written novel, then Six Weeks is the book for you. I'd recommend it as a book for teens to read before they find themselves in Immy's situation. I guarantee that if you read this book, you'll never look at the issue of teenage pregnancy or abortion in quite the same. And, though this book doesn't change my opinion on any issues, it certainly reinforces my own views as I head to the election booth in November.
Six Weeks is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle