Review: After

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.
–From Goodreads

It is hard to imagine many people sympathizing with a teenager mother who chooses to kill her newborn baby. Granted, before Dexter, most people probably couldn’t imagine rooting for a serial killer. The more you get to know someone’s story, the harder it becomes to make black or white judgments about their actions. The story of Devon Davenport, star athlete and impeccable student, turns a murky gray after she throws her baby away in the trash.

This is the second audiobook I have listened to so far, and it took me a couple chapters to settle in. It is the first audiobook that I have listened to without reading the bound book prior to listening, and also the first time I have listened to a third person narrative. I wanted to decide if an audiobook could work for me as a replacement for actually reading, and in this case, I think that it was an excellent substitute. The narrator’s voice pulled me in quickly, captured the qualities of all the characters’ internal thoughts and speech well, and kept me wanting to return to my car to hear more of the book.

I love books that make me question my beliefs and push me to think about morally ambiguous situations. It doesn’t seem like there should be much ambiguity when it comes to the murder of a child, but Devon is a teen with an otherwise spotless record who was in a great deal of denial about having sex, let alone being pregnant. It’s clear that she did something wrong, but it is also clear that there were a great many other forces at work including lack of familial support and extreme defense mechanisms. Certainly I don’t think anybody should be out there killing infants, but the book made me question whether Devon deserved to be punished for the rest of her life for this action. Is she a threat to society? Can she be rehabilitated? Amy Efaw explores these issues from all angles, showing the humanity behind those we often dismiss as inhuman when depicted in the headlines.


2 Responses to "Review: After"

  • I agree about the lines blurring when you get to know a character and their circumstance.

    Happy reading and have a great weekend!
    Blkosiner’s book blog

    1 brandileigh2003 said this (November 6, 2010 at 8:59 PM)

  • Sounds intense. I like when authors get us to think differently about characters you might be quick to judge as not so good.

    2 Anna said this (November 9, 2010 at 7:24 AM)