Don’t laugh, but “randomly” meeting Tracy Engelbrecht (online – because where else do we meet people these days?) was some sort of Universal show of synchronicity. The Universe likes to do this to me.
Let me explain:
About six or seven years ago (holy crap I’m getting old!) I started writing a book about a pregnant teenager. I was hardly past being a teenager myself at that stage, but I just couldn’t do it. I had never been pregnant. And I therefore had no idea what I was talking about. I needed to know what it felt like to stroke a pregnant belly. I needed to know what morning sickness felt like and how it feels to be kicked from the inside. Those stupid books at the library helped nothing – it didn’t take long to figure that out. So I shelved the book, promising myself that as soon as I found myself pregnant I would pick it up again.
Now of course that never happened. When I was pregnant all I wanted to do was knit and sew things (true story – my dad still laughs at me about that) but the other day I picked up the novel with a very intense need to revisit the idea of finishing it and doing it properly.
I have no idea where this lass came from but somehow she ended up in my newsfeed. She obviously must have added me to her Facebook for some reason (I always allow people to add me – saying “no” to someone who is trying “add you as a friend” always seems like messing around with karma) and soon I saw that she had written this book called “The Girl Who Couldn’t Say No”. Now my book-in-the-making is nothing like hers at all, except for the pregnant teen bit, and I couldn’t help thinking “oh I must read that it will help!” And The Universe went get off your bloody arse and write you daffy cow. The Universe is so rude.
Anyway, I finally contacted Tracy and asked her to send me a signed copy – which she graciously did. I haven’t been so excited to read a book in ages! I don’t know why I just knew I was going to love it.
I’m not going to give you a detailed plot synopsis here. It’s about a teenager who falls pregnant – you need to know no more than that. What I loved about it though was the raw and vulnerable honesty with which the whole thing was written. Apart from being the kind of book any mother could relate to (I’m dead serious when I tell you that I laughed and cried through the whole thing!) there is just something about the voice of this quirky person that you just can’t help but fall in love with. The complete un-pretentiousness of it is just so precious! And perhaps that’s a mad thing to say, but throughout the whole book my head kept going “You see Nadine, you should just write like yourself, it works better that way!” For that, Tracy, I have to thank you.
I must admit also that quietly observing Tracy over the last little while has given me a bit of a complex. What an amazing woman! Apart from being a single mom of two (single mom of one is hard enough – I should know!) Tracy runs a young moms support group in Fish Hoek. Why? Because she’s awesome!
To Tracy: You’re an inspiration honey. Keep being you.
Why I give it a ten: It’s an important book that tackles a subject that is very rarely tackled without an air of condescension and self-righteousness.