Book Review: Rattled

rattled_coppa Rattled: A Memoir

by Christine Coppa

This book sparked my interest right away because reading the back immediately sparks my empathy.  Coppa is living in NYC living the life many young women would dream of: working for a magazine, going out with friends, meeting men.  Very much the life out of Sex and the City.  It all changes for Coppa when she realizes she is pregnant.  Soon after she realizes she is going to be a mother, her boyfriend, referred to as “A” throughout the book, decides he has no interest not only in dating Coppa, but being a father to his child.  Although seemingly accepting of the pregnancy at first, he soon leaves Coppa alone to sort out her new life.  Coppa’s strength and resiliency is immediately tested as she is forced to handle her pregnancy and the early months of her son Jack’s life without a stable partner.  The book ends once Jack is a few months old, but Coppa is still writing her blog for Glamour magazine, which can be found here:  http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/blogs/storked/

I decided to take a different approach to this review.  Rattled had a great list of questions in the back of the book, many of which were questions I was already pondering throughout the book, so I’m going to take some of those questions and reflect on them.

Were you surprised by A’s decision not to be involved at all?  Given that women have a right to an abortion and Plan B, do you think that a man should have the right to walk away if he doesn’t want to be a parent? This question was the most conflicting for me throughout the book.  I didn’t expect A to leave.  I wasn’t suprised that his initial acceptance of the situation waned as the realization of life-changing event sunk in, but I didn’t think he would bow out completely.  As the book went on, there were seemingly no redeeming qualities about A.  In fact, I would say that his actions were completely unforgiving and reprehensible.  However, Coppa DID have a choice when she discovered she was pregnant; a choice that men aren’t given.  Coppa chose to let A step out of Jack’s life, but she could, in theory, at least demand that he provide financially for Jack.  Once a child is born, men don’t have the choice to cut all ties, so in that sense, A is not the norm.  On the other hand, choosing to have sex without a condom sealed A’s fate.  He made the choice right there to be irresponsible, so from that point on, he’s already made his bed.  As you can see, I really had a hard time with this one and I still am undecided when it comes to men and their rights as fathers.

What do youn make of Christine’s relationship with her brother Carlo?  Do you think he helps or hinders her ability to become independent and ready for her baby? I saw Carlo as a enar01_chrissi_copagodsend.  Christine was lucky to have such a supportive family and Carlo really stepped in and tried to ease her burden, as well as Jack’s.  It is unfathomable to me how hard it must be to be a single mother, and the way Carlo was willing to step in and help his baby sister and his nephew made the situation with A more difused.  It was impossible not to like Carlo and appreciate all the effort he was putting in.

Christine’s work as a blogger often makes her private life open to the public.  Do you think readers have the right to critique her decisions?  Have her readers crossed a line by asking questions about child support, Jack’s father, and her financial situation? Do you think A ever read(s) her blog? I think Christine’s blog has made her susceptible to the opinions of others in a way that most of us would not be used to.  It doesn’t shock or surprise me that people would question her, although I don’t think that makes it right.  We all have to deal with opposition in our lives, and I don’t think Christine’s position is any different, although she has to deal with it on a much larger spectrum.  There were times in Rattled were some of the naysayers were obviously getting to her, and I imagined that I would feel the same way she did: hurt, angry and confused.  It’s hard to have people judging you when you’re trying your best, and the idea of being a single mother still carries a stigma that is impossible to ignore.  I think Christine handles the opposition graciously and with dignity, and that’s all she can do.  As for A, it is hard to imagine that he has never read the blog.  Curiosity would compel me to read it, if I were him.  At the same time, it is hard to imagine that Jack’s own father could read Storked and still be detached from his life.

Overall, I found this book to be uplifting and I was moved by Coppa’s overall attitude.

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