*YALSA/ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 1993
This short book has a simple objective: to tell the experiences of 13 young men who became fathers during their teen years. They now range in age from 17 to 39. One of them became a father at 12 and several have more than one child. Some fathers ignored their children and saw no reason to accept responsibility. Others took some responsibility but have had difficulties dealing with parenthood because of trouble with the law, lack of education, an inability to find decent jobs, or a difficult relationship with the child's mother. Also examined are the lives of young men who have found parenting to be a rewarding experience. The young men reflect American's diversity and examplify the problem of contemporary American youth. The book shows that even young men from abusive or dysfunctional families can find success as a loving parent for their own children.
Thirteen young men, who were between the ages of 12 and 18 when their wives or girlfriends became pregnant for the first time, describe their situations and their feelings. Recurring themes appear in the young men's words. Several talk about feeling manipulated by their children's mothers and about male role models in their lives, and nearly all have something to say about the economic pressures of fatherhood and about their wives or girlfriends. Filled with disillusionment, fear, anger, and occasionally real joy, their words blend into a dramatic, eye-opening portrayal of what teen fathers face when their desires and expectations collide with reality.
These compelling stories let us in on a panoply of scenarios, from the fathering and abandoning of nine babies by age 19 to supportively juggling two different households with children. Well laid out and informative.