If you haven’t read Heppermann’s previous work, you should do so and experience the beauty of her poetry, but the same gorgeous writing I remember from Poisoned Apples is present here. It combines Addie’s own narration with her heavily metaphorical poems, which ponder the differences that would result if the Virgin Mary reacted like a modern thirteen-year-old girl when it was announced she would give birth to Jesus. (THINGS WE SAW AS KIDS MADE HER AN ADULT, BUT IT WAS A LIE. Well, her age is never specified anywhere and the main accounts of her being 12-14 come from unreliable apocryphal accounts, but it’s still terrifying. Moving on.)
The way it handles Addie’s feelings about her abortion is very sensitive as well. She knew she wanted one and got it, but she doesn’t immediately recover mentally from the procedure. Considering her environment–a Catholic school–and the fact she has classmates like Allison the very verbal pro-life classmate, that’s not surprising at all. When everyone around you says that X is wrong without knowing you did X, that’s going to mess with your head. Regardless, Addie pulls herself together and the story becomes more about what getting pregnant made her realize about what she wants to do with her life as well as her budding attraction to Juliana.
What Left Me Wanting:
If only it didn’t end so abruptly! It feels like there’s so much more to the story than what is written. Like the ARC is incomplete and the final copy will have more added toward the end to create a longer character arc for Addie. Unfortunately, I doubt this is the case. The story simply doesn’t come to a natural conclusion. In addition, it suffers from the same issue I had with Poisoned Apples: some of the verses going waaaaaaay over my head. Beautiful, yes, but as clear as a brick wall at times.
Maybe my wish will be granted one day and I’ll find a story like Addie’s written in prose. There’s no predicting the future (unless I’m fourteen again and actually can, but that’s a really ridiculous story)! Or maybe it’s already been published and it’s waiting somewhere for me. Whatever. Ask Me How I Got Here is a must, especially if you’re a fan of novels in verse.
*handles abortion very realistically