The First Part Last

January 16, 2012
By Anonymous

The First Part Last by: Angela Johnson, Simon & Schuster (2003) NYC. “And this is how I turned sixteen….” (5), told from a teenage boys point of view. Bobby was an ordinary boy, well at least he was before he found out Nia his girlfriend was pregnant. Nia never expected Bobby to be around, “You don’t have to, Bobby. I mean I know how to get there by myself.” (27). Also, Nia discusses with Bobby that she wants to give the baby up for adoption but in the end Bobby keeps her, because Feather the baby is a part of Nia that remains in Bobby. I know people think that it is ironic for a teenage father to be taking care of the baby, but Bobby genuinely cares about Feather, he used to “play with my Game Boy in the dark” (3) but gave it up for Feather and that may show why he keeps her because he truly cares.
Bobby is a dynamic character in the story. He changes from a teen boy into a mature sixteen year old father having responsibilities practically on his own. “Skipped school with my running buddies, K-Boy and J.L.” (5), but it’s not like he was doing drugs he was just having a good time with his friends enjoying his teenage life. Now, “Eight extra diapers. Baby corn starch. Baby wipes. Three binkies (in case two get lost). Four six-ounce bottles. Three Onesies. Three changes of outfits (she’s barfing a lot). One change of booties. Diaper rash ointment…” (16). “Your arcade days are over, brother” (24) Bobby always loved to play at the arcade with his buddies K-Boy and J.L. but matured and knows that he can’t act like a regular teenager anymore, and accepts the challenges he faces with Feather.
New York City is the main setting of the book, where all of his friends, family, and problems are. I think New York City is a very tough and difficult city to live in especially with a baby. Like when shootings are occurring from a guy named “Just Frank got killed trying to save a girl in the neighborhood from being dragged into an alley by some nut job.” (7). Just Frank might have been homeless but taught Bobby valuable lessons of being a man. I think all of the bad things happening in New York City may foreshadow Bobby moving, to where his brother Paul and kids Nick and Nora live in Heaven, Ohio, to find a better environment for Feather and him to live in.
Bobby truly cares for Nia and Feather. “When I told Nia I wanted to go to her first appointment,” (27). Bobby doesn’t want to be that slacker of teenage father but wants to actually stick around. Nia thinks he doesn’t, and just wants to be a normal teenager having no responsibilities and difficulties. Many people always say the opposite that teenage fathers never stay around, which is not always true. “They say it was just a twenty-four-hour bug, but it scared the hell out of me when I went in to get her up from her m
ap and she was burning up.” (34). Bobby was so protective, he stayed the whole time with Feather at the hospital which shows the love and care he gives to her. Bobby also makes sure Feather is in good hands for when he goes out to buy supplies for her. Bobby leaves Feather with his downstairs neighbor Coco Fernandez which he always knew.
I recommend this book for teenagers mainly because it is from the prospective a teenage boy and how he’s dealing with hardships and a baby on the way and after the baby is born. A huge hardship Bobby deals with in the beginning with Nia is deciding whether to keep Feather or not. The theme of this book was very clear me. To not give up on something you love so dearly that you created and want to be there for. Also, another theme that this book shows is how a teenage boy can stick around and be there for their own kid instead of only the mom.

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