In 1979, Liz Pryor is a seventeen-year-old girl from a good family in the wealthy Chicago suburbs. Read more...
In 1979, Liz Pryor is a seventeen-year-old girl from a good family in the wealthy Chicago suburbs. Halfway through her senior year of high school, she discovers that she is pregnant--a fact her parents are determined to keep a secret from her friends, siblings, and community forever. One snowy January day, after driving across three states, her mother drops her off at what Liz thinks is a Catholic home for unwed mothers--but which is, in truth, a locked government-run facility for delinquent and impoverished pregnant teenage girls.
In the cement-block residence, Liz is alone and terrified, a fish out of water--a girl from a privileged, sheltered background living amid tough, street-savvy girls who come from the foster care system or juvenile detention. But over the next six months, isolated and in involuntary hiding from everyone she knows, Liz develops a surprising bond with the other girls and begins to question everything she once held true. Told with tenderness, humor, and an open heart, Look at You Now is a deeply moving story about the most vulnerable moments in our lives--and how a willingness to trust ourselves can permanently change who we are and how we see the world.
Praise for Look at You Now
"A funny, tender and brave coming-of-age tale."--People
"A poignant, often funny reminder that we learn who we are when we're at our most challenged."--Good Housekeeping
"Searingly honest."--Family Circle
"Engrossing . . . Readers will swiftly be drawn into the author's compassionate retelling of her teen pregnancy--her fear, shame, regret, joy, and even her forgiveness of her parents for sending her away. This coming-of-age memoir is authentic and unforgettable."--Publishers Weekly
" Liz] Pryor's refusal to bury the truth of her experiences is the greatest strength of her book. Her honesty about a youthful error and desire to let that honesty define the rest of her life are both uplifting and inspiring. An unsentimental yet moving coming-of-age memoir."--Kirkus Reviews
"Pryor has vivid memories of her time in the facility, and her straightforward, unvarnished narrative, written as if by her seventeen-year-old self, rings true. Her story is well worth sharing."--Booklist
"I started reading this book thinking it was a compelling, honest, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant look at the world of teenage pregnancy, and knowing it would offer an inside look at the places where girls used to be hidden away until their babies came. I finished it damp-eyed and understanding that Look at You Now is much more than that. It is a story about how family dynamics work. It is about how wrenching it is to give away something born of your flesh, even if you know it's the right decision. It's about how much we can learn from people very much different from us. Most of all, it is a subtle, graceful story about how sometimes the worst things in our lives work best to shape our characters into something shining and true, something that will serve us for the rest of our lives."--Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover
"Liz Pryor's story is shocking, moving, riveting, and, ultimately, inspiring. She writes like a natural, can balance humor and sorrow perfectly, and in Look at You Now, has written a pitch-perfect memoir."--Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-14
- Reviewer: Staff
When she was 17, Pryor (What Did I Do Wrong?) promised her mother she would never divulge the story of her teen pregnancy. But before her mother died, Pryor asked whether she could share the experience, and her mother agreed. This poignant and quite engrossing memoir details the five months of 1980 that Pryor spent in a locked facility for pregnant, delinquent teens in a small Indiana town. Pryor was free to come and go as she pleased, but she soon found that there was really no place to flee. Instead, she spent her confinement getting to know the other teens, many from juvenile detention houses or foster care. Pryor’s upbringing had been privileged; she grew up in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, the fifth of seven children. She adored her parents (who eventually divorced) and her “extraordinary life.” When her pregnancy was discovered, however, her parents’ primary concern was keeping it secret; she was spirited away and instructed to place the baby for adoption. Instead of “ruining her life,” her pregnancy and friendships with the “degenerate unfortunate” girls (as her mother referred to them) opened both her heart and her eyes to another world. Readers will swiftly be drawn into the author’s compassionate retelling of her teen pregnancy—her fear, shame, regret, joy, and even her forgiveness of her parents for sending her away. This coming-of-age memoir is authentic and unforgettable. (June)