Saturday, November 07, 2009

Book Review: My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson

Book: My Life as a Rhombus
Author: Varian Johnson
Published: 2007

Rhonda Lee is the most serious, studious girl at her school. Her idea of a hot evening is math tutoring and Chinese takeout. She has a plan for herself: graduate with honors, go to Georgia Tech, become an engineer, and most of all, don't waste her time on the popular crowd. But she can't avoid Sarah Gamble, the queen of the populars, the daughter of an important Georgia Tech alumnus, and her newest student.

Rhonda and Sarah are becoming tentative friends when the other girl's symptoms become obvious--exhaustion, nausea, cravings. Rhonda knows exactly what's wrong, but can she face the buried memories in order to be there for another girl in trouble?

At the beginning of the novel, Rhonda has allowed what happened three years before to become her entire life. She is Rhonda, Abortion Girl. She's cut everything out of her life that led up to the event--friends, fun, love--because she feels vulnerable and also as a kind of punishment. Even her relationship with her father is limping along like a half-dead donkey, which she characterizes as punishment for her sins.

Sarah's situation forces Rhonda to examine the event again, and to see what she's done to herself in its wake. What I liked best about this book is that she never really decides that she was right or wrong to have had an abortion. It's just there, part of her life and always will be. The novel is about accepting something that happened to her and what she had to do about it, and not letting that infect her whole life. Yes, she's still battling her own sorrow and regret, as well as her conflicted feelings about basically being pressured into the procedure by her father. But she also has plans for her future that never could have come to pass if she'd had the baby.

By the end, Rhonda has found the courage to face down her own fears and forgive herself enough to start living her life again. I do wish we'd been able to get some closure between Rhonda and her father--after all, that was one of the most screwed-up, and therefore intriguing, relationships in the book. But overall, the end was pretty satisfying.

In this novel, Johnson takes a thought-provoking look at teen pregnancy, abortion, and all the effects of both.


Melissa said...

Sounds really good. I've got his newest sitting on my shelf (scored an ARC... :-), can I say I'm hoping I love it??

Katty09 said...

I think that this would be a great book to read. I also think that Rhonda should stick to her dreams if she wanted to stay a honors student and become successful throughout life, then she shouldn't become the greatest of friends with Sarah (the newest student)



Dona Kwavolski said...

I agree with Katty09 because she should just stick with what she was doing and prasue her dreams and just because this accident happen does'nt mean she should just give up what she worked so hard for. I hope that she can deal with it and have the beby so she can put it up for adoption and continue her life and her dreams of going to Georgia Tech.

What do you think will happen to Rhonda and sarha?

Dona Kwavolski

miss bubbly said...

This sounds like a great book! I can't imagine what it would be like living with a regret like that, and then have to go through it with a friend. I wonder if Rohnda, at first, was just using Sarah to create a good reputation with Sarah's dad (the Georgia Tech official).

Miss Mary Mack said...

This book sounds really cool.I really want to read it. Even the title had me!!! It sounds like a book a lot of girls can relate to!!!

anne said...

Thanks for this very balanced and level-headed review. Have read several other reviews of My Life, and also, have started the book. Your review is spot on. I think this book would be excellent for a discussion group. Lots to explore and learn here.