A New Penny

Author: Bianca Bradbury

ISBN: 9780395123638
Pages: 188
Description: Carey and Hank just moved into a two-room trailer while he attends the state college and she stays home taking care of their son Jody. Hank is studying science while working part-time as a janitor in one of the buildings. This leaves Carey home alone a lot with Jody, who sleeps most of the time. Carey dreams of becoming a beautician, a gardener, a botanist. She dreams so many things up but always comes to the same conclusion that they are out of her reach. Unlike all of the other students around her she isn’t enrolled in college, heck she still hasn’t finished high school. Carey dropped out after finishing her junior year in high school so she could have her son. She doesn’t really want to go back to school either, she missed her chance, she’s a wife and a mother now and none of the other high school students would look at her in the same way. But life as a wife and mother proves more difficult than she expected. Without a high school diploma she can’t become a beautician, she can’t become a botanist, and she sure as heck couldn’t make it as a head gardener without her education either. Faced with the responsibilities of a tight budget, considering re-enrolling in high school, helping her husband out around the house, taking care of her son, and working to try to earn money Carey finds herself trying to balance everything out and figure out what she really wants in life. Does she want an education? Does she want to stay at home and take care of her son day in and day out with nothing else to do? Does she like feeling like she’s a ‘dummy’ while her husband and all of her friends are getting an education? The questions pop up as she deals with the realities of life and seeing that marriages isn’t all she thought it would be and getting an education maybe isn’t the worst thing she could do.
Set back in the sixties or seventies this book talks about the issues of the role of women, from a young sixteen-to-seventeen year old mother’s perspective. She’s way young to drop out of high school, get married, have a son, juggle a job, managing her house, and trying to figure out what she wants in life, but that’s exactly how things are going. It’s an interesting insight into the dilemmas that face a young girl and her stubborn attitude of education, mothering, and keeping a clean home. I thought it was pretty good, it has a different tone and sense of humor since its set at a different time period and the views that the main character have are a little hard to get used to. She sees her role so one-dimensionally that it gets annoying as she just sees her role as a mom and a wife and has trouble accepting the idea that education is something she needs in her life. Overall it was well written and I think it gives insight into the difficulties that a young couple can have when they choose to stick it out and make the best of what they have.

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