Book: My Life as a Rhombus
Author: Varian Johnson
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.