Review: The First Part Last

March 7, 2011

Read the review and more after the break

Johnson, A. (2004). The first part last. New York, NY: Simon Pulse.

Bobby is sixteen and a single father.  His mother is distant.  His father works all the time.  His friends just wanna have fun.  But he has to learn how to balance all these relationships, school, and his new daughter, Feather.  Johnson is a beautiful writer, and she gets into the thoughts of the tender Bobby.  Where she really succeeds is in building up the question of, “What happened to Feather’s mother?”  It’s a short book, but the poetically powerful writing will get under the skin of the reader, drawing out powerful emotions.  Recommended for 9th grade and up.

Additional thoughts (SOME SPOILERS):

When discussing this book in my YA Lit class we had a discussion of the femininity of Bobby’s voice.  I am of the mindset that he has always been a tender kid, and the birth of his daughter has matured him more.

*SPOILER THOUGHT* Most of the book I hated Nia, the mother of Bobby’s child.  I thought she’d abandoned her child.  But, after she suffers a stroke during childbirth (or some other coma-inducing condition), I nearly bawled.  It’s extremely powerful.

Similar titles (Read-A-Likes):  Mahalia by Joanne Horniman, Slam by Nick Hornby, Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff, Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson, Autobiography of my Dead Brother by Walter Dean Myers



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