I am writing to you from the inside of an actual, non-fiction dystopia. The spoilers start now.
I never liked the evil ex trope, and I particularly disliked the evil ex had an abortion variation. I used to come across it frequently in the late 1980s – 1990s. I haven’t seen much of it recently and I’m not at all happy about coming across it in Mazey Edding’s Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake.
The book isn’t explicitly anti-abortion, and I have no idea which side Eddings puts herself on the pro/anti abortion divide. She made a choice to make Rake’s trauma be that his ex had an abortion without telling him after having cheated on him. We see for the first 3/4 of the book that Rake has a deep sadness and some trauma that made him swear off love and feelings. And then the bomb drops that he found out about his ex’s abortion and cheating. So here we have the protagonist – Lizzie Blake, who on getting accidentally pregnant is immediately, absolutely sure she wants to be a mother vs. the ex who got an abortion and isn’t sure if Rake was the father because she was cheating on him. Eddings chose an ex’s abortion to be her male main character’s trauma. It was a choice that made it through drafts, revisions and edits. She really didn’t have to make this particular choice. There are a lot of ways besides secret abortion that past romantic relationships can make you not want to be open to love again. Men can want to be involved in parenting the child that results from an unplanned pregnancy. Eddings made a deliberate and unnecessary choice. As the author, she is the god of her fictional world.
But it’s just fiction! Yes, Lizzie Blake’s world is fiction. I live in Texas in August of 2022 and abortion is now illegal in this state. It’s not just bad cheating women who are impacted by abortion bans. In fact, “because I was cheating on my super nice boyfriend and didn’t want him to know” is a very rare motivation for having an abortion. Most abortions occur because of finances and timing. This abortion ban also means that pregnant people who wanted their pregnancies aren’t able to get the health care they need when the pregnancy goes wrong.
Of course this one book won’t make a difference either way, and my review won’t make a difference in this book. But I now live in a state where I am no longer an equal citizen, where women and people with uteruses have few legal rights to make choices about their bodies and to access the healthcare they need than they did last year. I’m pretty angry about it.
DNF at 77%
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley. My opinions are my own, voluntarily and freely given.