Caela Carter does a fantastic job at capturing teen pregnancy in its highs and lows in her new novel “Me, Him, Them, and It.”
The story is about Evelyn Jones who is a 16-year-old valedictorian. She has been slipping from her good girl norms into bad girl tendencies just to spite “them.”
Them” refers to her nonverbal parents who keep a cold distance. Their distance is a result of her father cheating and returning to be with her mother. This causes them to spill over their lack of communication and phony affection into their daughter’s life.
Evelyn meets a boy who succumbs to the “him” title. Todd, who she supposedly uses for sex, is technically not her boyfriend.
The only cliché part of the novel is that she obviously falls for him. Then the ominous “it” arises. She becomes pregnant. Todd does not play the sweet prince who offers her a hand and Evelyn feels beyond lost. She then goes to live with her lesbian aunt, her partner and their two adopted children.
Her life picks up, the bump grows, but she makes a decision she cannot undo even though she wishes she could. She ultimately gives the baby up for adoption and hopes for a normal life.
This is one of the most honest and realistic portrayals of emotion and experience. It could easily be popularized and turned into the next film that could possibly have an impact like “Juno.” The beautiful but heart-aching nature of the plot allows for the reader to feel an attachment with the characters on each and every page.
Evelyn does not want anyone to know of her pregnancy in her hometown, so when she only tells Todd, her best friend Lizzie gets beyond angry when she finds out.
This friendship and connection explores the complicated truths that evoke emotion in those who are stuck between childhood and being an adult. Connections are something that Evelyn has a hard time making, but when she meets someone that resonates with her, the character becomes a major stepping stone in the process of her baby decisions.
Characters who make the deepest bonds with Evelyn are people like Mary from Planned Parenthood, who Evelyn turns to when her parents continually disappoint her.
The new experience with Evelyn’s move to her aunts in Chicago unravels more than a change of scenery for the young, soon-to-be mother. There is something close to perfection in the writing of Evelyn’s experience as she goes through a life change and a change of location.
Carter really captures the honest and grueling fears that pregnant teenagers could possibly experience. The new family dynamic that she falls into characterizes that there are varying types of family situations as well.
Between the multiple relationships, the differing personalities, and the humanistic experience that a young woman faces, this novel deserves a standing ovation.
There is something truly magical about a book that can grasp the concepts that tumble in the mind and turn them into literature.