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Conception by Kalisha Buckhanon


by Kalisha Buckhanon

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  1. 00
    Last Last Chance: A Novel by Fiona Maazel (DDay)
    DDay: Both books feature short interludes/chapters told through the point of view of dead souls (w/ some sort of reincarnation angle, if you read one of the books you know what I'm talking about).

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I updated you all a few days ago that I would be digging deep down in my TBR pile and pulling out some jewels. Conception is the first of my random choices. This book has been in my possession for approximately two years and so I decided it would be the first to escape the pile.

“Planning pregnancy was for white women…(pg 12)”

Buckhanon has put together a coming of age story that is set in 1992 inner city Chicago. The odds seem to be stacked against fifteen year old Shivana who is growing up with her mother in an apartment complex that she describes as “not quite” the projects. Shivana and her mother have the normal rebellious teenager, protective mother relationship. Their already rocky relationship really takes a turn for the worse when Shivana gets pregnant by an older married man. The shining light in Shivana’s life is her mother’s baby sister Jewel. Jewel is a well traveled free spirit that enjoys life. Jewel gives Shivana the love and practical advice that she longs for from her mother. Annette, Shivana’s mother, is a bitter woman stuck in a rut that can’t push past her past hurts. While Shivana frantically tries to deal with her pregnancy, while only sharing the news with her best friend Natasha, a new piece is added to this puzzle named, Rasul. Rasul was a breath of fresh air to this whole story. Rasul is this lanky, splotchy faced, seemingly unwanted nineteen year old that is also gentle, kind, and full of wisdom.

“…because birth always brings the consequences of confusion, sadness, disappointment, then death. (pg 1)”

The twist to this entire novel is that there was a second voice which was that of the Shivana’s unborn child. This addition really makes the story confusing at times. This child is a soul that has never been “anchored” to any of the women that have previously conceived it. The stories of these women that dated back to slavery were quite interesting. I got so wrapped up in these stories that there were moments I hated to go back to the main narrative. The main narrative was kind of bland compared to the “richness” of these stories.

I believe I would have enjoyed a collection of short stories with the theme of “conception” more so than the back and forth of this novel. The ending was abrupt and it also felt rushed. I just wish there was more depth to the main narrative. ( )
  pinkcrayon99 | Jun 19, 2011 |
***SPOILER ALERT**I found this book strange. It was werid how the character's unborn baby had a voice of it's own. It told the story of how the unborn child had been trying to find life in previous mothers but somehow never made it (to be born) I guess it was creative. The ending was a WTF ending. I thought it would be all happy and end nice with the baby being born..but then SHE DIED WTF? Major plot twist! So now the baby never found a home and is going to have to wait to be 're-born' or 'concieved' into another mother. Kinda sad. Eh, I've already listed it on BookMooch to find a new home. An overall..C but a def WTF ( )
  drea3132 | Aug 10, 2010 |
Took a little while for me to really get into it, but overall it wasn't too bad..but I wouldn't recommend it. ( )
  kjdavis87 | Apr 18, 2010 |
Poor Shiviana. Poor, black and 15 years old living in the Chicago projects in the early 90s. She gets pregnant by a married husband of the children she watches, and then proceeds to think about whether to keep the baby for a number of months. To be honest, I skipped over the extended pages from the "baby's" perspective. Not as forceful or as well written as her first book. A little too preachy. ( )
  coolmama | Oct 28, 2008 |
An excellent book, but uncomfortably toeing an anti-abortion stance. I love Savannah, and root for her hopes for a better life. ( )
  welkinscheek | Jun 5, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031233270X, Hardcover)

In the same vein of Kalisha Buckhanon’s critically-acclaimed debut novel Upstate, again she shares an emotionally beautiful story about today’s youth that magnifies the unforgettable power of hope and the human spirit.

Buckhanon takes us to Chicago, 1992, and into the life of fifteen-year-old Shivana Montgomery, who believes all Black women wind up the same: single and raising children alone, like her mother.  Until the sudden visit of her beautiful and free-spirited Aunt Jewel, Shivana spends her days desperately struggling to understand life and the growing pains of her environment. When she accidentally becomes pregnant by an older man and must decide what to do, she begins a journey towards adulthood with only a mysterious voice inside to guide her. When she falls in love with Rasul, a teenager with problems of his own, together they fight to rise above their circumstances and move toward a more positive future.  Through the voice of the unborn child and a narrative sweeping from slavery onward, Buckhanon narrates Shivana’s connection to a past history of Black women who found themselves at the mercy of tragic circumstances.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Following in her single mother's footsteps when she becomes pregnant at the age of fifteen, Shivana believes that all black women fall into the same trap, until she meets Rasul, a teenager with problems of his own, with whom she forges a friendship.

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Kalisha Buckhanon is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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