Struggles of a Teen Birth Father

Teen birth mothers’ voices abound in books, blogs, articles, and films, but the struggles of a teen birth father are seldom recorded. Told through the eyes of a teenage birth father, Jo Knowles’s affecting young adult novel, Living with Jackie Chan (Candlewick Press), sensitively portrays the rarely animated male point of view. Coming to grips with teen parenthood and adoption forms the heart of the story, sensitively portraying the struggles of a teen birth father. Josh, the vulnerable protagonist, leaves home to move in with his karate instructor uncle in a distant town for his senior year in high school. A withdrawn loner, Josh is reeling from a haunting misdeed, which fills him with guilt and shame. His funny and caring Uncle Larry draws him out with rigorous karate classes aimed at each student’s becoming a “true karate man” — “one with a godlike capacity to think and feel for others, irrespective of their rank or position.” Josh’s sparring partner and upstairs neighbor, Stella, must also face feelings of inadequacy, and he reveals to her late in the book that his casual hookup the prior year resulted in an unplanned pregnancy and the adoption of his son. Through mental and physical exercise and the compassion and humor of his uncle and friend, Josh is able to forgive himself. Moving from punching the Jackie Chan poster in his bedroom with self-loathing to accepting the consequences of his actions, he becomes a true karate man.

2018-01-03T10:18:38+00:00 Mar 10, 2014|Categories: Birth Mother|Comments Off on Struggles of a Teen Birth Father