Book Commentary: Promises I Can Keep

Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage by Katheryn Edin and Maria Kefalas was book #2 on the In Shaw Summer reading list because it is a study of the type of people with whom we middle class people share this neighborhood. My, that was a long run-on sentence.
I’m not done with the book and I have a hard time putting it down as it is such a good and thoughtful read. I was chatting with Nora Bombay about how this book makes me want to create a totally new sex ed course. For one, according to the authors, the girls (I’ll use girls as many have kids in their teens) already know about birth control. The problem, they have little incentive to keep it up. And another big surprise, many of their pregnancies were wanted, somewhat (17% planned, 37% unplanned and a big 45% ‘in between’ sorta yes, sorta no). Some girls said their children came a ‘little earlier’ than they wanted, but the children were wanted. So in my imaginary sex ed course I’d include things like “stuff you need to do and not do once you’re pregnant” and “child support 101: making him pay”.
Another big thread I’ve noticed in the book is it does not put men in a good light. They rarely speak for themselves in the book. If I had never met a man in my life and read this, I would think that all poor men are lying, cheating, cowardly, abusive, worthless can’t-keep-a-job to save his life, unstable, criminal, immature, sacks of DNA. The men are crappy fathers. Unlike the fathers of somewhere in a NoVa Home Depot where Saturday morning there are tons of dads with kids strapped to their stomachs roaming the aisles looking for toilet parts. So Nora tells me.
Later, when I’m done with the whole book I’ll write out a full review of this and the other books.