The first part last

January 16, 2012
By Anonymous

The First Part Last was written by Angela Johnson and published by Simon Pulse in New York City in 2003. Angela Johnson created an interesting novel on the view of teen pregnancy and the challenges most of them go through. The main character Bobby has to raise not only himself, but his daughter Feather, while trying to balance out school, family, relationships, and friends. How can one teenage boy cope with all of this weight on his shoulders and raise a child at the same time?

“Nia was waiting on our stoop for me with a red balloon. Just sittin’ there with a balloon, looking all lost. I’ll never forget that look and how her voice shook when she said ‘Bobby I’ve got something to tell you.’ Then handed me the balloon.” (Johnson, the first part last, 2003, pp. 5-6). Here, Nia, Bobby’s girlfriend had told Bobby that she was pregnant with his child on his 16th birthday. Bobby is your average urban New York teenager, who loves his girlfriend Nia, who has just told him shocking news that will change both of their lives forever.
“Yeah, Mr. Wilkins, I got your daughter pregnant. Yeah, Mrs. Wilkins, I know that this is a tragedy ‘cause you all expected more responsible behavior from us. Oh, hell yeah, we know what’s in store for us. I can’t tell you how upset my parents are, and the way my dad cried, and the way my mom wanted to slap me so hard she bit her lip till it bled down from her chin.” (Johnson, The First Part Last, 2003, p. 20). Here in this part of the book, Bobby is thinking of what to tell Nia’s parents and clearly you can tell that he is still an average urban teenage boy who is not ready to be a parent and still wants to have fun. I find that it was a good addition to the book so that the reader can get a good sense of how it must have been when Bobby and Nia had to tell their parents that they were going to have a baby. Also a good sense on how their parents must have reacted to the news.

Angela Johnson used an interesting method while making this story. Instead of using chapters, she uses “then” and “now”. The “then” part of the book is describing the struggles Bobby and Nia were going through. The “now” part of the book explains the struggles Bobby has to go through raising Feather on his own. Personally as a reader I enjoyed the structure of the book. The way they switch off from “now’ to “then” is very interesting. It’s a unique way of creating a story.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to others because of the structure and the way the characters are portrayed and the realism that they are given. Angela Johnson created an amazing book that does deserve the Coretta Scott King Award, not only for her point of view and her creativity, but for creating a book that has an interesting view on the life of an urban teenage father.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

on Jul. 22 2015 at 6:44 pm
Lord3ate BRONZE, Silver Spring, Maryland
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All morons hate it when you call them a moron"

J.D Salinger

Thanks so much

MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!