The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

By , stamford, CT
The First Part Last is a realistic poetic book that will teach every teenager a life lesson. It was written by Angela Johnson and published by Simon & Schuster in 2003 in New York. It is about a teenage boy named Bobby who lives in New York. His girlfriend, Nia, becomes pregnant. He struggles to be a teenage father and to let go of his care free, fun, average teenage life at the same time. Bobby is an inspirational character who should be a role model to other teenage dads out there dealing with the same situation as him. He truly loves his daughter and wants to be there for her more than anything; however, he misses his old life and how simple it used to be. He usually finds himself daydreaming about his life before he became a father.
The story starts off with Bobby’s sixteenth birthday. He does the regular teenage things like skipping school and having fun with his friends. Then he comes home to find his girlfriend with a red balloon and news that will change his life forever. Bobby and Nia’s relationship is strong; he’ll do anything for her, like travel across New York to get her pizza due to her pregnancy cravings. The setting of the story takes place in middle class New York in the early 2000’s. The book alternates chapters from “then” and “now”. The “then” chapters tell you what Bobby went through while Nia was pregnant. The “now” chapters are what Bobby goes through raising and taking care of the baby. After a tragedy surrounding the birth, Nia is not around to help, leaving Bobby to step up and do it himself.
Bobby is doing all of this while still trying to stay in school, with basically no help from his family. His mother, Mary, shows tough love with her kids and refuses to clean up any of her kids’ messes. So she leaves Bobby alone, forcing him to learn to do it all on his own. However, if Nia had been fine, the child would have been adopted, because that’s what they decided when she was pregnant. Nia is a caring person who would stick up for anyone; she dreamed of being a firefighter when she was young.
I believe the moral of the story is to teach us teens that all the careless things that we do, that we think won’t affect us, will. Bobby’s mom was very involved with teaching her kids about STDs and teenage pregnancy. She even left pamphlets about those things in their rooms and left a basket of condoms underneath the sink, but Bobby still ended up in a horrible situation, which goes to show these things can happen to anyone.
There is a character in the book named “Just Frank.” He’s a drunk and always asked Bobby, “Are you being a man?” Bobby never seemed to understand the question in the beginning of the story. At the end Bobby finally knew he was being a man when he decided to keep the baby and rip up the adoption papers. The social worker set up a family for the baby, but Bobby told her, “But I love her, and even though I’m not set up for her she’s mine and I’m hers.”





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