[note note_color=”#8ec9db” text_color=”#ffffff”]Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin • June 27, 2017 • Flatiron Books (Macmillan)
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“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.[/note][note note_color=”#BFD1D1″ text_color=”#ffffff”]I received this book for free from Flatiron Books for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.[/note]
First sentence: “A Few Thing They Tell You: No food or drink for six hours prior to appointment time.”
When the boy you love abandons you at Planned Parenthood, what do you do? This is exactly what happens to Genesis after she terminates an unwanted pregnancy. She doesn’t understand why her boyfriend, Peter, abandoned her, so she’s left questioning everything that has lead her to that moment—him, her family, her friends, her forgotten Theater dreams.
THOUGHTS YOU WILL HAVE WHEN YOU READ AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS
- I want to read more books about abortions.
Abortions is a topic that YA books rarely touches upon, and that’s a damn shame. I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t name three YA books that discusses abortion. It’s an important subject matter that everybody should read about.
Aftercare Instructions on abortion is neutral. The book doesn’t advocate for or against it. It just deals with the aftermath of one—where that leaves a teen when her boyfriend abandons her. I like that the book explores what happens with Genesis’s life after, but it doesn’t define Genesis’s whole character.
- Genesis has a very good support system.
When you’re going through something big like a pregnancy or an abortion, you’ll need a good support system to get you through it.
Genesis thought all she would need is Peter. He’s the one who loves her and told her not to tell anybody, so she doesn’t. When that proves to be a mistake (especially since he abandons her), Genesis turns to her cousin, Delilah, and her best friend Rose, who she should’ve confided in the first place. They are super supportive and protective of Genesis. They want the best for her, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure she doesn’t get hurt, even when Genesis may not like it.
- It deals with a lot of healing.
Aftercare Instructions is all about healing—from terminating an unwanted pregnancy to the passing of a father. It takes time to heal and to find your way back to what you once loved. Genesis has been through a lot of hurt in her life, and it’s not until this life changing event in her life that puts everything in perspective for her. It sets her on a path of reflection and healing.
- Aftercare Instructions does a great job differentiating the past and the present by using
For the present, the narrative is played out normally in a first person point of view. For the past though? It’s written entirely like a screenplay. I thought it was an interesting way of differentiating between the two time periods. Also, the screenplay format emphasizes Genesis’s past with the theater world. It’s always there even if she hasn’t taken part in that world since her dad’s passing.
- Aftercare Instructions wanted to be lots of things, but ultimately failed.
Lots of things were happening—abortion, a break-up, mental health, religion—but they were never explored to its entirety. That’s the problem when you try to mount issues upon issues. You don’t have enough time or room to explore everything that shapes who Genesis is and what she experiences. Pipkin only scratched the surface, and I wish it focused on the grief that is heavy throughout the book rather than bringing up stuff that we don’t ever have time to properly delve into it.
Should you read Aftercare Instructions? Uh, sure? Aftercare Instructions is certainly not a perfect book, but it does its job of portraying a neutral perspective of an abortion and a story about a girl who has suffered and lost a lot. This book is very much an aftermath of what happens, and how one heals.