Literature Annotations


Reynolds, Marilyn
Too Soon for Jeff


Genre Novel for Young Adults (222 pp.)
KeywordsAbortion, Adolescence, Family Relationships, Father-Daughter Relationship, Love, Mother-Son Relationship, Parenthood, Pregnancy
Summary

Jeff, a college-bound senior, is about to break up with his girlfriend, Christy, when she announces she is pregnant. He had stopped using condoms when she announced she was on the pill. He urges her to get an abortion. She wants to have the baby.

The pregnancy separates them, puts a deep dent in Jeff's plans for college, and hinders his participation on the nationally ranked debate team. He finds himself blamed, blaming, reacting stupidly (he gets drunk one evening and has to be picked up by his mother at the police station), and stuck in denial about his responsibilities until grad night when Christy is taken in for a caesarean section and the baby is born at 33 weeks.

Jeff, whose own father is distant and negligent, finds himself wanting to be a father to the child. As he starts college, he works out a way to share parenting responsibilities and maintain a friendly relationship with Christy even while he begins a new, more mature relationship with a young woman in college.

Commentary

The novel represents the boy's point of view with compassion and clarity. Jeff's mother is clear about her disappointment as well as her love, and makes it clear she is unwilling to step in and rescue him from the consequences of his mistake, though she is willing to help. Christy's volatile and overprotective father also ends up helping out, but only after several searing face-offs with both kids.

Their friends (who represent several ethnic groups) react variously, and social relationships shift significantly. The resolution is appropriately open-ended. Both young parents make significant sacrifices. Jeff's new girlfriend is accepting; they develop a cautious sexual relationship (the novel is frank but not gratuitously explicit about sex between teens). The book offers rich material for discussion, especially among sexually active teens or teens making decisions about sexual responsibility.

PublisherMorning Glory
Edition1994
Place PublishedBuena Park, Calif.
Annotated by McEntyre, Marilyn Chandler
Date of Entry 01/12/99