DETOUR FOR EMMY by Marilyn Reynolds


Age Range: 12 - 16
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 From a publisher known for nonfiction on pregnancy and parenting for teen parents, a novel detailing one single mother's experiences from her first date with Art, in ninth grade, through giving birth at 16 and later completing community college. Reynolds, who works with teens in an alternative school, crams the story with nitty-gritty problems and outcomes, plainly intended to instruct. Remarkably, though the specifics are overabundant for a work of fiction and the first chapters read much like a case study, Emmy ultimately engages with her intelligence and perseverance and by the integrity of her choices--e.g., she refuses abortion after she feels her baby move; she fights to give little Rosemary a chance to know Art's family, but gives up on Art himself when he proves to be self- centered and immature. The author explores a maximum number of issues: the need for sex education; roles of dysfunctional families; limits babies place on their young parents; continuing education (Emmy's lucky to be a Californian); setting new goals; teachers' prejudices; etc. Her conclusion (``I just started...Cal State L.A.'') is a best-case, if hard-won, outcome. Still, the many dynamics here are right on target, and readers will root for Emmy while picking up plenty of solid, sobering information. Then, steer them on to Wolff's Make Lemonade (p. 670) and Doherty's Dear Nobody (1992)--two powerful, beautifully written books on the same topic, and just as accessible and authentic. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-930934-75-X
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993