The following post originally appeared on Words of Choice. Reprinted with permission.
While a lot of novels revolve around unplanned pregnancy or include abortion as a subplot, finding fiction books that address abortion is a bit more of a challenge. The six discussed here — three young adult novels, three adult fiction — all have major plot points that revolve around the issue of abortion. Which means that it’s inevitable that some plot points of My Life as a Rhombus, Gingerbread, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, American Wife, The Cider House Rules, and Revolutionary Road will be spoiled — so proceed accordingly.
Young Adult Literature
All three YA books — Rhombus, Gingerbread,and Wallflower — are set in a post-Roe society.
My Life As a Rhombus by Varian Johnson is the most in-depth of the three YA books in looking at both sides of the abortion issue. The protagonist has had an abortion early in high school, while a new friend of hers chose to continue with her pregnancy. Chronicling the experiences of these two teenagers made it possible for the author to explore the pros and cons of each option without seeming preachy, and also allowed the protagonist to grapple with her own conflicted emotions about her choice.
Gingerbread by Rachel Cohen took the breeziest approach to the subject, which is only appropriate given how breezy the book was overall. For much of the story, the abortion was secondary to the protagonist’s more immediate dramas with her new boyfriend, difficult mother, chaotic step-family, and the father she had only seen once in her life but who paid for her abortion. The plot was so frenetic and wide-ranging, not to mention eye-rollingly heavy on slang, that by the time the main character finally talks to her mother about the abortion, the conversation almost seems out of place. [Read more...]