After by Amy Efaw

Since I am currently pregnant, the premise of this book made it difficult for me to even pick it up and start reading.  In all of my excited planning and prepping for the impending arrival of my second child, it’s hard to imagine how any girl/woman could not feel the same sense of love for and connection to her baby.  It’s even harder [nearly impossible] to imagine how depressed/desperate a woman would have to be in order to put her baby in the trash.  But, statistics show that this happens to approximately one baby per day in the United States — despite Safe Haven laws which provide consequence free drop-off zones.  Before working as a librarian, I worked as a permanent substitute at an area high school, and I even taught a girl who was later found guilty of “throwing away” her baby.  I always wondered what she could have been thinking.  Even if her baby was stillborn, as her lawyer asserted, why didn’t she call 911 instead of putting that baby in the garbage?  We may never know…

Fortunately, the baby girl in this story was found alive and survived her ordeal.  But, the story is about so much more than what happened to the baby.  In fact, the baby is really more of a footnote in this story.  After is primarily about the consequences faced by the baby’s mother, 15-year-old Devon Davenport, once her secret is discovered.  We get to see Devon’s journey from complete denial and a near-catatonic state to acceptance and the drive to get her life back on track.  Devon’s life in a juvenile detention facility is interspersed with flashbacks to how she arrived where she is, as aided by conversations with her court-appointed lawyer.  We get to see how Devon was able to convince herself, and everyone around her, that she is not pregnant — despite mounting evidence to the contrary. We see how Devon’s reputation as a straight-A student and soccer star are enough to maintain the illusion that she is trustworthy enough not to question further.  And we get to experience the horrible night when her fantasy world came crashing down around her as Devon’s body goes through the process of giving birth to the baby whose existence Devon refused to acknowledge.  A tough read, to be sure, but one that helps people to better see where these terrified girls/women are coming from mentally and emotionally.  Hopefully, this book will end up in the hands of at least one girl who needs to see that she is not alone, and that there is plenty of help available, before she does something she will regret for the rest of her life.

Happy Reading!

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2 responses to “After by Amy Efaw

  1. Woah, this sounds awesome! I’ll have to find this one. Keep reviewing, you – these are excellent recs.

  2. Thanks for the great review! I’m so glad you “got” my book. And good luck w/ your own baby!

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