Growing Up in a Hurry



Book: Growing Up in a Hurry

Author: Winifred Madison

Publisher: Simon Pulse, republished in 1983

ISBN-13: 978-0316543552 (Hardcover)

ISBN-10: 0316543551(Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-0671442385 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 0671442384 (Paperback)

Language level: 3

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Probably intended for teens and young adults, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone

Rating: No stars (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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Madison, Winifred.  Growing Up in a Hurry (published in 1973 by Little Brown and Company, 34 Beacon St., Boston, MA  02106; republished in 1975 by Archway Paperbacks, an imprint of Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Inc., 630 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY  10020). Sixteen-year-old Karen Holmes lives in Sacramento, CA, with her father Ross, who; mother Martha; older sister Pamela, a skater who is in college; younger sister Kit, twelve years old and a budding ballerina; and lazy, old cat Toku.  The family has just moved into the house built by her Grandpa Holmes, so she is dealing with a new neighborhood and a new school.  Karen does not have a good relationship with her parents, and especially her mother.  Lonely and feeling alienated, she finds solace in playing her flute and studying everything Japanese.  Falling in love with a Japanese-American boy named Steve Nakamura, she is now happy until she discovers she is pregnant.  Steve drops her like a hot potato and she must grow up fast to cope with the problem alone.  What are her options?  Which one will she choose?

The language is not good.  The “d” and “h” words are found several times, and the terms “Lord” and “God” are frequently used as interjections.  References to “Potheads” at school occur, and as a new kid Karen notes that she is not offered a “joint,” though on one occasion at a party, Steve takes a joint and even passes it on to Karen who takes one puff.  Other people smoke cigarettes and pipes and drink wine, whiskey, and Scotch.  Karen lies a lot.  And, of course, there is the sexual element of the story.  Karen is not the only girl at school to get pregnant.  She even finds out that Pam is on the pill, so she must be “doing that.”  The descriptions of the sexual relationship between Karen and Steve are not downright pornographic, but they are plain and some border on being lewd.  “I wanted to be joined then, there, on that afternoon under the tree and under the sky….And so he made love to me.  It was over very quickly.  And it was actually quite awkward.”  Later she says, “His hand was under my sweater and I let him caress me….We had made love six or was it seven times already in a secret place we had found in the park and were far less awkward than that first time.”

SPOILER ALERT:  I cannot give an assessment of this book without telling what happened.  Karen chooses to get an abortion.  Some of the first words out of Steve’s mouth when he learns that she is pregnant are, “If you were, you’d probably want an abortion.”  In fact, even Martha, who has been against abortion, immediately says when she learns of the situation, “There’s only one thing to do.  Get her an abortion.”  When asked by Ross if she had changed her mind, Martha then explains, “I am against abortion for most people.”  Of course, this book was written shortly after seven black-robed tyrants basically said that they couldn’t determine when life begins, so they automatically declared all pre-born babies non-human.  We have learned a lot since then, and all the scientific information supports the pro-life position.  Yes, Karen wept “for everyone, but mostly for the tiny life that had just been snuffed out,” but still decided that it was the best choice to insure that her future life will be a better one.  There is another choice—adoption.  Both of our sons were put up for adoption by teenage girls who were precisely in the same situation Karen was in.  A good book about a girl who makes a bad choice, learns from her mistake, and does the right thing might be useful, but if I had daughters I would not want them to read this book because, whether the author intended it to be so or not, it is a pure puff-piece of pro-abortion propaganda.  It may reflect the lives of worldly people in the 1970s but has no benefit for godly families.

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