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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on June 22, 2009
Looking on under Teen-Social Issues-Teen Pregnancy, I saw THE FIRST PART LAST. And so I bought it.

Like the way I KNOW IT'S OVER shows teen pregnancy from a male POV, THE FIRST PART LAST shows a male POV of teen parenthood.

The style of this book was similar to the prose of WAKE-- simplistic with short chapters. The chapters in this book either titled 'then' and 'now' for the most part.

THE FIRST PART LAST was really short-- 132 pages. That said, it was sweet and sad but also lacked well developed characters and background information (asides from the chapters titled 'then').

Bobby was a fairly likable protagonist. He was a pretty good father, I thought and he seemed to take the situation -- and responsibility-- seriously.

I think it would have been a better book if it and Bobby would have had a bit more humor. It doesn't have to be alot, just enough to lessen the somber tone that carries throughout this novel(la).

Also, this book was predictable in the sense that, as I read this book, I was not suprised by any of the experiances that Bobby faced. They were all things that I had assumed and knew prior.

However, the ending was quite interesting and unique-- I found.

But I felt that because THE FIRST PART LAST was so short, it had less time to make a good impression and wholey satisfy the reader. And in my case, it didn't.

If you want a male POV on teen parenthood, then this would be a good book to read. Until you find a another book similar, but better.

Reviewed by Callie at Handle Like Hendrix
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on May 16, 2004
This book shares with us the life of a 16 year old boy, who has just had the responsibilities of parenthood put in his hands. He has to put up with sleepless nights, and multiple errands of picking up and dropping off Feather (his daughter)while still going to school. Throughout the book you are left wondering why Bobby is taking care of the baby practically by himself, and why he refers to his girlfriend Nia as if she is gone. Well by the end of the book Angela Johnson finally hits us with a bit of vital information. It turns out that after having the baby, Nia was placed in an Irreversible vegetative coma.
Angela Johnson creatively webs the book together by smoothly traveling through chapters entitled "now" and "then" in which Bobby (the teen father)talks about the good old days that he, Nia,and his two best friends K-boy and J.L, use to share. And when it switches over to "now" he shares with us the hardship of being a parent. Yet through all of this is, he has this unconditional love for his daughter,and this love was so strong that when it was time for him to sign the adoption papers, he decided that he should be a man and handle the responsibilities of being a father, even though he is unsure of exactly what it is he is suppose to do.
This book will have you glued till the end for there is never a dull moment, where you don't want to find out what's going to happen next. And no matter what kind of person you are, your heart will definatly have been touched by the end of this book.
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on March 3, 2004
Bobby describes "Just Frank", a man from his neighborhood who always asks when Bobby is going to be a man, as a joke. When "Just Frank" dies saving a young girl, Bobby begins to respect "Just Frank" and understand what it would take for him to be a responsible young father.
Bobby quickly learns that parenting is not an easy job. Angela Johnson gives a clear and accurate description of how totally exhausted new parents get. Bobby is on his own with no one making his experience easier for him.
Bobby is by no means perfect, but he grows as his experiences as a new father change and change him every day.
There is nothing false in this book. Bobby's life is not an easy one, and at times he wants to run away from the stress his situation is causing him.
All in all, Bobby unselfishly makes choices to do what is right for the baby. At times, he does consider just running away from it all, as all new parents do.
This book is worthy of its accolades and I can't say enough good things about it. Read this book and suggest it to others. Anyone can enjoy this truthful look at the ability of one small baby to completely change your life, your goals, your perspectives, and your sleep schedule.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could live our lives backward and experience the first part last? I think it would.
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on February 23, 2004
This book, The First Part Last, is the American Library Association's choice for the 2004 Printz Award for Young Adult literature. On reading it, I can see why. It is beautifully written, with two timelines interwoven together. Usually this would be jarring, but Johnson moves from "then" and "now" seamlessly so what happened "then" seems very much apart of "now."
"Now" being 16-year old Bobby's attempt to be responsible and raise his baby Feather without burdening his parents. Johnson makes her readers feel what it is like to have a new human being who is so dependent and so loving. She also does a good job of showing what Bobby has lost, what growing he still needs to do. He isn't sleeping, he is becoming different from his friends because they aren't fathers, he isn't getting time to paint or think or doing anything to heal himself, and he does have healing to do.
And in this process, he gains a new understanding of his own parents. My favorite moment of the book happens shortly before Bobby moves out of his mother's apartment. He overhears his mother say to the baby "Take care of him for me."
My reason for giving The First Part Last a four rather than a five rating was the ending. The ending was satisfying, but I felt like I didn't know enough about what he had decided to do and where his life and Feather's would go next. I didn't know this when I started reading this book, but this is just one in a group of books that Johnson has written about the same family. My problem was that I hadn't read the book "Heaven." So, my two cents is read "Heaven" first and you will love this book.
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on January 13, 2004
The First Part Last was a story based on teenage pregnancy, and all the responciblities that come along with having a baby. The main characters were Nia and Bobby. They had been dating for awhile when Nia finds out that she is pregnant. Now, they both have to tell their parents. Nia decides that she is going to give the baby to fostor parents, once it is born. Something goes wrong while Nia is in the delivery room. Nia has the baby, but suffers from brain damage. Bobby does not want to give his baby away anymore. He names the baby feather, and decides to keep her. Now he has to except responcibility.
Personally, I could relate to Bobby's friends, K.Boy and J.L. I can relate to them because i've had friends who have been pregnant. During the story, Bobby feels a lot of pressure from everyone, and he hopes that he will make the right decision. I have felt that way in many different circumstances. It's hard, not knowing if the decision your making is going to steer you in the right or wrong way. It gets worse when you have pressure from peers and family.
I enjoyed this book very much. My favorite part was when Bobby moves to Ohio, so Feather does not have to grow up in Brooklyn. My least favorite part of the book was when Bobby found out that Nia would have brain damage, or possible even die. I wish I could change that part in the story, so that Nia was healthy. Then her and Bobby could raise Feather together, and be a family.
I definetly recommend this book. If you are a teenager, who is wondering how hard it is to raise a child, then this book is for you. I would also recommend this book to adults, so they could try to understand what teens go through everyday of their lives, and how it feels to be judged on one mistake you made. A mistake that is going to change your life...
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on July 30, 2003
The First Part Last is the story of teenager Bobby Morris, a guy who likes to hang out with his friends K-Boy and J. L.; they're typical boys who want to shoot hoops, buy a slice of pizza in a New York City neighborhood, or play with a Game Boy. But things are never the same when Bobby gets Nia pregnant; she's flipping out about this baby developing inside her belly, and Bobby is learning all too fast what it takes to be a daddy and a man.
Bobby narrates the story, explaining all the feelings he has for his new baby daughter called Feather. It seems everything he does these days must be done in consideration of his daughter. Bobby and Feather are irrevocably tied together and Bobby is trying his best to cope with the joys and challenges of his new role.
The First Part Last may serve as a realistic wake-up call for teenagers who are experimenting with sex and who think pregnancy, motherhood, or fatherhood cannot happen to them. The book describes a lot of what being a parent entails and teens may think twice about what they'd want for their own future; being tied to a baby, or maybe having better alternatives about the direction for their lives.
One thing missing from the book is intensity. The narrator's voice is mild throughout the story so you never feel like anything explosive is about to happen. But maybe that is the writer's intent - that the reality of parenthood is explosive enough. The First Part Last is a brief and important book for teens to check out, and perhaps their parents too.
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on November 4, 2003
I bought this book because it seemed mildly intresting, reading a story about parenthood from the farthers point of view... but as i started reading the book, it kinda seemed a little slow, i was proud of Bobby for taking care of his daugther, but i couldnt figure out why the mother wasnt involved. The ending was touching, moving, shocking, and heart stopping. I had no idea that the story was going there. In a whole, when i set back and look at the book after reading it, the story was very good, and touching, and it makes you think, i love a book that makes you think, and sticks with you for weeks after you are doing reading it.... If you have any intrest in reading a story about teen pareenthood, pick this book up, i guarantee that Bobby and Feather will touch your lives, and stick with you.
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on December 18, 2003
Bobby just found out he is going to be a father. Here lies the beginning of a wonderful story written by Angela Johnson. The book is in two parts. They are title Now and Then. The author takes you to before and after the arrival of the baby Feather. Bobby is a teenage boy who found out his girlfriend Nia is expecting. The book describes Bobby, Nia and their family feelings on the baby. The book to me is a wondeful take on the reality of teen pregnancy. On a sad note the readers find out that Nia is in a form of coma where she is in a vegative state for the rest of her life after giving birth to the baby. Wonderful read for tweens and teens who are intimate with one another. They could read this and comprehend somewhat the huge responsibility of having a baby as a teen.
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on October 19, 2003
This book is a must read by anyone interested in the way of teenage life and what some are going through. This book is hard to understand since the way it's written with what went on "then" and what's going on "now". Eventually towards the end of the book these to time periods meet to finally complete the puzzle. This book is about Bobby, a sixteen year old who on his birthday finds out that his girlfriend, Nina, is pregnant. His parents answer questions but he is the one who does the work for the baby in the "now" section. In the before section he goes through talking to Nia's parents about the baby and whether to keep it or not. I thought this book's purpose was to talk about what teenagers are going through today and what the dangers are in the life of 15 and above.
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on May 23, 2004
This was the first book I read about teenage pregnancy from the male perspective. This book was educational and enlightening.
In reading the book I noticed how the author barely talked about the mother in the present tense. It made me wonder what she was feeling and thinking, but as I read on I understood why.
When the author spoke in Bobby's voice it was very honest and poignant. I loved when Bobby realized Nia's (the mother) fate and stepped up to the plate and decided to be a single father, which is very rare in this day and age. The author also made the reader realize what a single mother goes through on a day to day basis. Very interesting book, I am going to pass this one off to my son's also.
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