Written by: Amy Efaw
Released: August 11, 2009 by Viking Juvenile
Summary: An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant...
Before that morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature.
But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made — Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers.
After that morning, there’s only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.
And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible — she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon’s unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.
I’ve always known that the mind was a powerful thing. I mean, if I truly over-think something I can scare the crap out of myself to the point where my heart is racing and I start to sweat even though there’s nothing there or nothing wrong. The imagination also stems from the mind and as a child how many of us had imaginary friends who we would swear were real, or what about the games that we would play with no physical props. I think that if a person truly sets their mind to something, they can start to believe that it’s real and either see or not see whatever they want. This book just affirmed everything about that that I believe and made me think about it in a whole new light.
Imagine psyching yourself enough into thinking that you weren’t pregnant and that that huge stomach was a result from over-eating and not enough sit-ups. Imagine forgetting it all after everything goes down and you almost kill yourself from not assessing the situation properly. I sure can’t.
Even before I started to read this book I was intrigued by the subject matter. The “Dumpster Baby” is one of those urban legends that you’re sure is completely real (which it is) and always happens to a friend of a friend of a friend. But also, it’s one of the rare topics that novels never touch on. So my interest was piqued and I knew that I had to get my hands on a copy to read.
Devon as a character was one who, from the very beginning, I empathized with. She evoked such heart-wrenching emotions from me as I read that I was genuinely crying as I finished reading. Not once did I ever dub her a monster for what she did, though had I of just been reading a newspaper article about something like this I don’t know how I would have reacted. But Devon came across even from the very first page as a girl who was so completely lost within herself that she didn’t know what was happening around her.
On TLC they have that ‘I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant’ show where women are well into their third trimester near their due date before they are told or they give birth while cooking dinner at home – all the while never even realizing that they were about to pop. With cases like that, it’s a general lack of both symptoms and realization that keeps the mothers from knowing about their baby which is a little hard to swallow but understandable. My aunt worked with a lady who only found out a week before her due date. But I digress. Those are instances where denial wasn’t a factor and while you heard about them you question women and shake your head at the absurdity. But with Devon you know that she knew on some level that she was pregnant but wasn’t able to address the fact due to incredible denial. This makes you feel so sorry for her and as the story unfolds and she reflects back on the months leading up to the delivery, you experience the emotions that she feels as she discovers how she inadvertently kept the information from both herself and those around her.
The writing of this book is such unlike anything else that you would have read for a while (at least it was for me). It approaches the subject with such raw honesty and emotion that you can’t help but react. It’s able to capture this phenomenon in such a way that you’re left thinking about it for days, or longer, after you’ve read the last page and closed the book.
I am so happy that I purchased a copy of this book for myself because it not only gave me the ability to read it, but also the opportunity to share it in the future with everyone I know. Honestly, this is going to be one of those books that I’m going to recommend to anyone and everyone who wants to read something that’s real and not supernatural or romantic. Heck, I’m going to even recommend it to the people who only want to read that sort of stuff. This is one of those life-altering, perception-shifting books that are rare to find. I give it a very high and well deserved 10/10.