In Girls Like Us, Randi Pink masterfully weaves four lives into a larger story–as timely as ever–about a woman’s right to choose her future.
Four teenage girls. Four different stories. What they all have in common is that they’re dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
It's the summer of 1972, before Roe v. Wade. In rural Georgia, Izella is wise beyond her years, but burdened with the responsibility of her older sister, Ola, who has found out she’s pregnant. Their young neighbor, Missippi, is also pregnant, but doesn’t fully understand the extent of her predicament. When her father sends her to Chicago to give birth, she meets the final narrator, Susan, who is white and the daughter of an anti-choice senator.
It's 1972, and four teenage girls three, black, in rural Georgia, and one, white, in Chicago confront unwanted pregnancies before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal. When her older sister, Ola, misses her period, Izella, 15, convinces her to visit Mrs. Mac, an elderly "seer," to end her pregnancy. The sisters' predicament is complicated because their preacher mother, Evangelist, has been highly critical of a neighbor, Missippi, 14, who is also pregnant following sexual assault by her uncle ("I feel like that baby gone wind up raised in a house of hell with all kind of sin and debauchery"). When Missippi's father, a long-haul trucker, moves his daughter to a Chicago home for pregnant teens run by the saintly Ms. Pearline, she meets Sue, 17, whose father is a conservative U.S. senator. The story bounces among each girl's story (with chapter titles that announce how far each is into her pregnancy), culminating in a tragic ending for one and a pledge among the others to remain lifelong friends. An epilogue catches readers up to the young women as adults. Though some plot elements don't add up, Pink (Into White) offers a timely, sobering account of the reality women faced before abortion was made legal. Ages 13 up.