Although a feeble teen abortion account, pro-lifers can use this “novel” (so-called) to show how post-abortion syndrome affects a young woman who lacks orthodox religious faith.
Heppermann’s work, a “novel-in-verse”, is anything but. The “poetry” is feeble; the “lines” would read better if they were written as sentences in paragraphs. Since full-length novels have the space to develop characters, this “work”, therefore, could qualify as a short story. It still would not give Hemingway a run for his money.
Why Greenwillow Books would waste 225 pages of paper and ink like this is beyond me. Maybe it felt that this tenuous “book” served a young adult reading audience need, I dunno.
Bad publishing and marketing choices aside, though, this “work” has some merit. Although Addie is a typical young woman who fornicates with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant, and thinks only of killing the unborn child at one of the offices of the abortion business Planned Parenthood, the “work” does illustrate three ideas long known in the pro-life world:
1. That mothers who abort experience post-abortion syndrome (PAS), often a short time after the killing has taken place. This is evident when Addie’s personality disintegrates; she quits track at high school; picks fights with her boyfriend, leading to their breakup; and chooses a misguided lesbian relationship as a source of affection.
2. That parents who are weak in their faith often abscond from their responsibility as parents in helping their teen daughters choose life. This is the case with Addie’s parents, whose lack of firm Catholic Christian faith is evident when they say nothing about helping Addie choose life.
3. That the abortion itself is difficult to talk about and the person killed in an abortion is always dehumanized. This is obvious when Addie’s parents are unable to talk about the time of Addie’s abortion. Addie’s mother refers to the abortion as “what we went through / a few months ago” (172); her father, similarly, cannot refer to the abortion: “She never had those [side aches] before” without specifying that the term “before” is a truncation of “before the abortion” (173). How surprising, then, to read that, when Addie writes a letter to her unborn child towards the “novel’s” end, she refers to the child as “a girl with Nick’s smile, / a boy with my eyes, / a baby” and says that she “would never want you / to hate yourself”, which suggests that Addie hates herself (211).
Maybe this novel is so feeble because the author herself is anti-life; Heppermann promotes the abortion business Planned Parenthood on the last unnumbered page of the book as one of several anti-life organizations that “exist at the community and national level that teens can turn to for help.”
This vapid “work” only takes about an hour to read; the “poetry” is ordinary language, nothing significant, so, unless you’re an English professor who must read crap like this to monitor fiction on the life issues, one can turn page after page without needing to annotate anything important.
The best way to reply to the book’s title Ask Me How I Got Here is to say, “Let’s not and say we did.”