Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If I Was Your Girl

"He was cool, though," Harlem said, laying next to me in bed and placing Noah between us. "But this is my man." He kissed me on my forehead. "I think I could probably do this."

For the first time in my life I felt like Heaven was smiling. I thought about telling Harlem that I loved him, but then a part of me still wasn't sure where this was going, so I changed my mind...though there was nothing I could do about my heart.

Ni-Ni Simone's If I Was Your Girl follows the story of Toi McKnight, a teenage mother. Readers begin the story with a brawl between Toi and her baby daddy's new girl, Shanice. Throughout the book readers are exposed to Toi's challenges of being a teenage mother and still maintain her identity as teen, which always seem to be in conflict. When Toi meets Harlem, it only becomes more complicated, but not always in a bad way.They end up falling in love and having an on-again off-again relationship. Toi decides to end the relationship for good and Harlem moves to Atlanta. Eventually, so does Toi and her family so her and her twin sister, Seven can attend Spelman University . Do Harlem and Toi reconnect in "Hotlanta?"
Simone's book is full of urban references from "sucking on my teeth" to the clothing and music describe. She did a great job with this book as I could picture exactly what they were wearing, hearing, saying. It gave me much better visuals than other books. She even wrote the text with an urban dialect which enhanced the reality of the story. There was also great comic relief with Percy and his posse; they were all about four feet tall. They were constantly chasing the girls in the story around and were always able to provide a laugh.
Simone does a good job of portraying the realities of teenage pregnancy. This is not the glamorous life and she is sure to show how it effects everyone in the family. This story is also a great depiction of growing up and maturing. Toi has to learn how to be a good mother, friend, girlfriend, student, and all around person. While she shares of many teenage girls of wanting to be in a relationship, she pulls away and fixes her relationship with herself, which I think is something very important that most authors touch on.
In my search for additions to my review I found out that If I was Your Girl is the second book by Simone. The first book Shortie Like Mine ,is actually a prequel to this book and is about Toi's twin, Seven. I did not feel as if I missed out on anything though by starting with this book, though.


Amy said...

As this seems a very urban book, do you think students from a more rural or even suburban neighborhood could relate to this book? I for one have no idea what "sucking on my teeth" means.

Anne said...

Maybe not rural areas but some suburban areas where there is a higher instance of minorities, or at least exposure and tolerance. I also don't think boys would really relate to the story as it is from a young girls perspective. I visualized the whole sucking on the teeth thing and I'm not sure how to explain it. Jeff Dunham has a character called Sweet Daddy D, and the noise he makes is what I Kept picturing. (You can see it on youtube but wasn't really appropriate for school. Haha...)

Marcella said...

This book sounds really interesting!! I think its great that you did not give the ending away because now I want to know if they reconnect as well as what else happens. In this day and age it seem like this book can be taught anywhere because rural areas still have some ides of what the city is like or can be like because of TV, internet, and movies. I also do not feel you need to be a minority to be able to read and relate to a book that has minorities in it. It seems like this main character is dealing with issues of self discovery which is everyone one can relate to at some point in their life.

Krystal Tanami said...

Wow I think you did a great job with this review I really want to read this book now. I wonder though if this book could be relevant to all YA or only urban one who would get the slang references? Also do you think that this could be a way to warn kids about the trials of being a teen mom?

Anne said...

I don't think it needs to be limited to only urban settings. It may be more popular there just because the students may be able to make a better connection because of their life experiences; but I think students from the suburbs or some rural areas would get it and benefit from reading it. Of course it can be used as a way to warn teens against teen pregnancy. Luckily Toi had a strong family support system, which is not always the case, and it was still difficult for everyone involved.

Alex H. said...

I didn't understand the slang, but I think it's a great book for YA readers. It could open a discussion about teenage pregnancy in a health class and the difficult issues a young mother faces.