48 Hours Review: Spellbound

In 2003, I was in Karibu books in Maryland happily having a book shopping spree.  One of the books I picked up was Chill Wind by Janet McDonald.  It took me a couple of years before I actually read it, but I loved it when I did.

Today I picked up her novel Spellbound which is the story of Raven, a young girl in the projects who has accidentally become a teen mother after an unintentional one night stand.  Joined by her friend Aisha, the protagonist in Chill Wind, who is also a teen mother, McDonald paints a story of startling contrasts between Raven and Aisha.

Aisha is content to be a teen mother on welfare living in the projects, but Raven’s dreams are bigger than that.  Aisha’s daughter’s father is not an active part of their life, and initially neither is Jesse, the father of Raven’s son, but that’s because he never called her back after that one night stand.

Author Janet McDonald passed away in 2007 of cancer while living in Paris, France.  At the close of Spellbound, she wrote, “Spellbound is a pun, a conundrum, and a cautionary tale.  Raven, held by the magic of words — their spelling, their meaning, and their power to liberate — confronts and resolves the most intimidating predicament a teenage girl can face: sudden motherhood.  The teenaged single mother is so familiar a phenomenon that to many she might appear ordinary.  But when a baby bursts forth in the midst of a young life, for that girl, that mother, her very singular, unique, and promising journey is altered, and in many ways truncated, forever.  Her choice is existential — strive or glide.  Raven strives.  Aisha glides.  And that is where their friendship diverges.”

Spellbound is the story of more than just another teenage girl who becomes pregnant.  Spellbound is the story of determination, perseverance, and taking the road less traveled. 

One Response to “48 Hours Review: Spellbound”

  1. pageturnerchick Says:

    Hi, Carla

    If you loved Spellbound, then you must read Janet McDonald’s “Twists and Turns”. Janet McDonald was a gifted writer indeed. She was one of my favorite authors. =)

    ~Deborah J. Copeland, Author
    The Kids at Latimar High
    Summer Love, Pink Snowballs, And a Splash of Hater-aid
    The Boogie Down Clique Novels

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