Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

Susan, Kate, and Sunny has been best friends for years.  It is fun that their three daughters (Lilly, Mary Kate, and Jess), all the same age, are also best friends.  Lilly, Mary Kate, and Jess are popular, college bound Seniors, from good families. 

They are also all three….


The girls had made a pact – a pregnancy pact.  All feeling ready for motherhood they decide to do what it takes to get pregnant and have their babies all grow up together. 

Susan, Lilly’s mother is also principle of the school.  As word gets out the pressures are heavy on Susan to make good decisions for all involved as the Super Attendant worries about copy cats, and the schools reputation.  The girls do not fit the type of student that would do something like this, blowing statistics of what teens to watch for such behavior in.  It doesn’t help that Susan herself was seventeen when she became pregnant with Lilly, and Susan’s own mother and father had pushed her away, leaving her quite literally alone.

As the three mothers put their heads together on how to move forward – most of the attention stays on Susan.  Being in a small town in Maine makes this sort of scandal very news worthy, and after an editorial in the local paper, the news vans are knocking on Susan’s door.  Lilly had no idea that the decision she made with her friends to become pregnant would snowball into the attacks on her own mother.

All three women, Susan, Kate, and Sunny must come to grips with where they failed as mothers, how the dreams they had for their daughters are disappearing, and scathing small town judgment.

I had high hopes for this read.  The synopsis, was interesting.  How do mothers handle daughters who would make such an outrageous pack?  The fact that Susan was also principal of the school was also interesting… how do you make a fair and smart assessment of what is happening when it involves your own daughter? 

On the pro – I liked the characters.  Susan is a strong intelligent woman.  She had raised Lilly on her own, made a career for herself and a home.  Lilly is sweet and likable, strong personality and supportive of her mom and her dad, who does remain in the picture as a supportive parent and friend to Susan. 

The story line rocks…


On the con – I wanted to kick Lilly in the pants.  Lilly had clearly not thought out the big picture here and still believed that she would have her baby just before graduation, take the summer to “play mom” and be in college yet in the fall.   She is shocked when her mom is not thrilled for her.  She refers to the baby as “our baby” referring to her mom and herself and maybe I am being harsh – but Susan accepts that immediately, where I am thinking… ummmm…. you made the decision to get pregnant, this was not “our” decision, it was yours. 

I found Susan way to easy on Lilly and there is no lesson here.  I am not saying you don’t stand by your children no matter what, of course you do, but you also talk to them about consequences…

All three girls were extremely immature in such a decision for three girls that were suppose to be on their way and intelligent.  They were doing this on their own with no intentions of telling the “dads” that they were going to be dads, as they really planned on doing this on their own.  This just did not ring true for me.

Gah.  I don’t know…. maybe I am reading too much into this. In the end it is a book about friendship through thick and thin, healing and family ties that bind.  I did like the ending very much.

I  have enjoyed Barbara Delinsky’s writing in the past and I am sure I will enjoy it again in the future.  It is so hard to know what to say about this book as I did keep reading – wanting to know how it was all going to end.

My 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include Not My Daughter

I borrowed this audio from my local library

27 thoughts on “Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

  1. I have this on my wish list but have read many reviews that say it might be one to skip over. I love Barbara Delinsky. Three Wishes is my favorite of her books. I am still not sure I will read this one.

  2. Yes, I remember thinking what a dilemma this was for Susan. She had done the single mom thing from an early age, and had hoped for something more for her daughter. But how can she criticize her without seeming to say “do what I say, not what I do.”

    She certainly had to face an onslaught of criticism from the small town, too. Not a good spot to be in.

    I empathized with the women; the kids were annoying and hadn’t thought things through. They seemed to look upon the whole experience as something “fun” that they could do together, as friends.

    1. I found it interesting that everyone seemed to know about her own pregnancy at 17…. even her boss tossed it in her face… what was she the poster child for teen pregnancy? 😛

      I just thought that was weird that everyone knew her personal business. She wasnt even in the town she grew up in.

  3. I haven’t read anything by Barbara Delinsky but I have been meaning to try her books. It sounds like the girls in Not My Daughter were unbelievably naive and immature. The pregnancy pact does sound like something “ripped from the headlines”.

    I don’t know that I’d like this book but it does sound interesting. It is too bad that Susan is under such stress because of her daughter’s decision.

  4. I enjoyed this book though I do agree that the girls were incredibly naive about pregnancy and the responsibility of raising a child. Book was a bit unrealistic but overall, I liked it.

  5. I got this book after seeing it on a blog (here, I think) because I really liked Barbara Delinsky’s SHADES of GRACE, a novel about three generations of women. The grandmother, the oldest of the three, was showing signs of dementia, and my own mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I have this one, NOT MY DAUGHTER, in the stack beside my bed and I’ll still read it, but I’m sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations.

  6. Hmm.. I don’t know how I feel about this book. As a childbirth educator I feel very strongly against anything that takes a very casual/unrealistic approach to teen pregnancy. I really feel that if an author is going to tackle a subject like this – especially with the rash of real pregnancy pacts – they have a responsibility to be realistic in their portrayal of the pregnancy and more importantly how things do not always “just work out” after baby arrives. Ugh… I should get off my soap box but it sounds like this book would frustrate me more than bring me any read joy!

    1. No – stay on the soap box – I totally understand what you are saying here and I think you are right. (Uggghh…. I did not even know about the real pregnancy packs). They did not focus a whole lot on the other two girls… mainly Lilly and her mom but it seemed to become more about the towns reaction and her mothers job than about the actual pact to do such a thing.

  7. There was an episode of Bones a few years ago that had a group of high school girls who’d made a pregnancy pact. They, at least, had thought through some of the ramifications of the decision, though. I think I’d be pretty annoyed by this book/character.

        1. WOW – I am so behind the times…. 😀 Maybe that will be my winter project – I like to pick a show that has been out for awhile and watch all the episodes… this last winter it was LOST… winter before that Gilmore Girls. 😀

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