One Pink Line by Dina Silver
Publication Date: October 20, 2012
Target audience: Young adult/Adult Fiction (both!)
Keywords: college pregnancy, single parent, step-parents
Format read: ARC from NetGalley (Thanks!)
Summary: In 1991, shortly before her college finals and graduation, Sydney finds out she is eight weeks pregnant. After she tells the father, he bows out and says he wants nothing to do with her or the baby, leaving Sydney to raise Grace on her own.
There have been a few times in my life when I’ve read a book and pieces of the story felt like they could have been written by me. That’s precisely how I felt about One Pink Line in its entirety. Please allow me to explain.
We meet Sydney as she’s studying for her last round of college finals before graduation in 1991. While she’s prepping for her Spanish test, she realizes it’s been 8 weeks since she had her last period. She throws the books and notes aside, rushes to a Walmart, and quickly purchases a pregnancy test. She’s hoping for one line to say she’s not pregnant, but two appear.
We jump back in time to 1987 to just after Sydney’s high school graduation. She goes to her best friend Taylor’s house for a graduation extravaganza and meets the boy she’ll dote over for the next four years, Ethan. Ethan is kind and loving, smitten with Sydney, and not at all concerned that her family isn’t in the same financial bracket or social sphere as his. It’s unfortunate that they meet the summer before she leaves to college when she’ll be heading off to Purdue and he’ll head back to Kentucky again.
They vow to make their relationship work, but time and distance causes strain. Sydney makes one lapse decision after an iffy conversation with Ethan. Eight weeks later she finds out she’s pregnant. There’s a lot of speculation, on behalf of the reader, because we’re left in the dark as the story bounces back and forth between Sydney and Grace’s stories about who Grace’s father is. Just as we make strides with Sydney, we shift to see the effects of those decisions on her daughter.
One Pink Line is difficult to categorize because it bridges young adult, new adult, and adult fiction. We see snippets of Sydney in high school (with a very particular mother who obsesses over every detail), college (with a crew of four tight knit friends), and as an adult woman in the working world (with a stickler of a boss named Midge who isn’t happy about Sydney’s pregnancy). Grace is introduced to us as a young pre-teen who is piecing together the facts that her dad is not her biological dad. We experience her growing up and questioning so much about her life – What does her real dad look like? What traits did she inherit from him? Why has he chosen to not be part of her life? Why doesn’t her mom want to share more information about him?
When I read the chapters about Grace, I identified in a deeply personal way. I don’t know my own biological father; he skipped town (thankfully — he’s a terrible man who did terrible things to my mom) before I was even born. Despite knowing what a scumbag he is, it’s never stopped the questions. I wonder if my kids will inherit recessive genes from him that I don’t know about. Growing up, I mostly wondered why I wasn’t good enough for him and why it was okay for him to flee and not bear any of the responsibility. Sydney’s chapters made me realize what a brave, wonderful, and strong lady my mother is. It put the struggles she must have faced into perspective for me and I understood why she never told me more. I knew all I needed to know.
Their story hit me hard and spoke to deepest parts of my heart. My favorite gem of the story was Grace’s stepdad. (Though I must admit: the whole cast of characters was so beautifully and thoroughly explored. Silver did a fantastic job of developing the family and friendship dynamics from major all the way down to secondary characters.) Grace was constantly reminded that despite not knowing her biological father, she had someone who loved her so much. Someone who would always be there for her. Grace’s hesitation for seeking out her biological father was not wanting to hurt her stepdad. I understood that more than words can say. Despite my own curiosities, I would never want my stepdad to feel less than an ounce of the appreciation that he should. I would never want to hurt him or make him feel unloved.
With great references to 90s style and life without a cell phone, we get a glimpse into Sydney’s life as she bravely chose to have a baby without the support of the father. With only a few moments of over-explanation, the story moves quickly and will have you breezing through the pages so you can piece together Sydney and Grace’s history. One Pink Line is a fantastic story about how one decision can change the course of more than one life.
A Thank You to the Author:
Dina, thank you so much for writing this story. It’s one that has left me thinking about my life with tears streaming down my face since I closed the book. I cannot wait to purchase a copy for my mom so she can read it, too. I want to write her a note that simply says, “Thank You for your bravery. I love you.”