Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Impossible is a young adult fantasy based on the folk ballad "Scarborough Fair." In this retelling, Lucy finds out she comes from a line of women cursed by the elfin king to get pregnant (in Lucy's case, the elfin king possesses the body of her prom date and rapes her) at 18, and if they can't complete the 3 impossible tasks in the ballad before the child is born, they will go insane and become the king's consort forever. The premise was interesting....but yet, it was really kind of troubling. On top of really awkward dialogue and cheesy romance, the troubling part is the handling of Lucy's pregnancy and her marriage to her boyfriend while still a high school senior. The book completely fetishizes her pregnancy--after a tiny bit of morning sickness she's this glowing madonna who never has the slightest bit of discomfort or doubt about being a teen mother. Additionally the kids' marriage is complete bliss--they never fight, never have money issues, never have studying or grade issues, they only take cat naps at night so they can watch the other person sleeping because they just can't bear to miss one single moment apart (and yet can still be able to do work and school adequately the next day and Lucy do it pregnant?). Although it throws in a very brief, things were a little hard to juggle with high school and money and everything once the baby came, it was way too little and way too unconvincing after such this grand rosy picture of teen marriage and pregnancy as perfect and blissful. Additionally, there's this really nauseating bit where her boyfriend tells her she should marry him so her baby will carry his name essentially so it won't be a bastard. I kept rereading that conversation in shock and flipping to the copyright date to make sure this book was actually just written in 2008 and not 40 years ago.
The writing itself wasn't bad, and despite my distaste, it did keep me reading. But ultimately, it was far too slow building up to things. Lucy doesn't fully find out about the curse until almost halfway through the book, even though the rape and pregnancy happen at the beginning. And then it still takes forever to get started on the three impossible tasks. So all in all, I would give this one a pass.

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