Book Review: “Not My Daughter” by Barbara Delinsky


“Not My Daughter” by Barbara Delinsky (2011)

Genre: Contemporary, Adult, Family, Women’s Fiction

Page Length: 352 pages (paperback)


When Susan Tate’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself.

Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily’s best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter’s pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk.

The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother? (description from Goodreads)


So this is a book that has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I’ve read one of Barbara Delinsky’s novels before, “The Secret Between Us”, and enjoyed it so I knew I would be intrigued by this book.

The book is based on a true story of a pregnancy pact that happened some years back. The story mainly focuses on the three girls and their mothers that are involved in the pact. We get to switch point of views from time to time and see how each person sees the situation unfolds and the emotions that arise.

Lily and her mother, Susan, are at the pinpoint of the story and scandal seeing that Susan is the principal of the high school. Lily and Susan have an extremely close relationship and the pregnancy ends up straining their mother and daughter relationship. The reader is left to wonder if their relationship will ever be the same again. Although many townspeople throw tough accusations and insults at Susan, I really admired her for how she handles everything even though she’s under great pressure.

Delinsky’s writing is nice and the story’s pace and events will keep readers interested. Since I have read one of her novels before I noticed that she heavily focuses on the themes of family and relationships that intertwine, in her novels. Everyone is somehow connected to one another, but it’s very realistic and not at all exaggerated.

*On a side note, there is also French movie titled “17 girls” that follows the same story line of a pregnancy pact. If you enjoy foreign films or human drama stories, I would check it out.

Final Verdict:

I give “Not My Daughter” 4 out of 5 stars. It was an interesting story and I enjoyed how the point of views were written.


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