When a friend like Carmen tells you to read a book you do. As part of my 12 Friends 12 Books project, Carmen chose Gabi, A Girl in Pieces. I’ve loved that this project has allowed me to discover favorites and also books I might have never heard of before! Keep reading this book review to find my full thoughts.
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn’t want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it’s important to wait until you’re married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, “Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas.” Eyes open, legs closed. That’s as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don’t mind it. I don’t necessarily agree with that whole wait until you’re married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can’t tell my mom that because she will think I’m bad. Or worse: trying to be White.
TW: rape, abortion, homophobia, fatphobia, drug addiction, child abuse, ableism, slut shaming
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces is a story about all the pieces of ourselves which make up a whole. Told in journal format, it tells the story of Gabi a girl who’s just trying to sort out her complicated feelings about her dad, her own ambitions for the future, and her own romantic awakening. It’s a complex story that tackles difficult conversations about addiction, teen pregnancy, slut shaming, and finding your voice. What I loved is that Gabi, A Girl in Pieces balances both an exploration of these themes, with an almost slice-of-life approach.
We witness these events, the ways she is doing the best she can. Trying to get through this lack of sexual education, dating and family, babies and social pressure. Gabi’s narration style, and the journal format, pulled me into the story. It’s a book about loss and love that takes from us. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, is about the aches of her heart, the first heartbreaks, and loss which eats you whole. Watching her story, and her quest to find her voice, unfold on the pages was fantastic to read.
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