Saturday, 30 November 2013

Review: The Girl Who Couldn't Say No — Tracy Engelbrecht

I expected this to be a semi-preachy book with some humour. A ‘beware this bad life choice’ sort of autobiography. It was a spur of the moment reading choice. It turned out to be a relaxing read, written in a friendly conversational tone with just enough humour to make you smile and take the edge of what could have been a very dry story.

Read the synopsis on GoodReads.

I think the title is slightly misleading. I imagined a people pleaser or submissive personality, and while Tracy admits she finds it difficult to stand up for herself, the point of this story doesn’t come about due to peer pressure or people pleasing. I think the subtitle works a lot better and I always think of this book as “The Memoir of a Teenage Mom”.

Some negative reviews comment on the voice or ramblings, but I don’t agree with any of that being a bad thing. The voice is conversational and it is because of this fact that I kept reading. It was a friendly, welcoming book, with a conversational tone. It made it pleasant to read – the same feeling you get from talking to a friend. I rarely read autobiographies because the voice generally fails to appeal to me and I just don’t tend to care that much (at least for the popular ones, such as celebrity biographies you see every Christmas). I didn’t find any of the book to be wondering so far off track that I felt lost or disinterested. Everything felt related and was pretty interesting to read.

It was definitely interesting to read from the perspective of someone who felt that an unplanned teenage pregnancy was the ‘it’ they needed in their life to make it really worthwhile. While I don’t agree with any young girl who tries to get pregnant for whatever reason (keeping a boyfriend, need for unconditional love, a desire to show how mature they are and so on), I think for Tracy it was a positive life event, or at least one she made positive.

The chapter titles are amusing and there are parts in the book that I can relate to so much (just as progression from teen to adult, I’m not a mother). There are also bits which are gems of experience. Such as:
“Again, I was surprised to find that this forbidding man was just a person like me, muddling through life and doing his best. More and more, I was learning that adults were not the all-knowing, all-powerful supreme beings I’d thought they were.”
Because as children, at least, we all think that adults have some magical quality which we lack as young people. When we realise all they have is more experience and different thought processes it’s a shock. Tracy also highlights how, while she is pregnant and thus ceases to belong to her friends’ world, her boyfriend can carry on with life as normal, get a new girlfriend, go out partying and shirk the responsibilities of fatherhood.

There are a handful of typos in this book, but overall I think it’s a really pleasant short autobiography.


1 comment:

  1. Oooh....this book sounds saucy....Lol! I want to read it!


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