Review: “Aftercare Instructions”

“Aftercare Instructions” by Bonnie Pipkin

Flatiron, 265 pages, $17.99, June 27, 2017, Goodreads


Bonnie Pipkin’s novel is about Genesis, a girl who is left by her boyfriend while getting an abortion at Planned Parenthood, and how she heals afterward. It is simultaneously heartbreaking, real, raw and funny.

Genesis is a very self-aware and introspective main character, and I found that I loved her voice. She perfectly embodied a teenager being unsure of herself and suffering from her first heartbreak from her first love, and on top of that going through an abortion. Both are very emotionally traumatic ordeals and her story of suffering and healing is told beautifully through Pipkin’s words.

I found this to be an easy and quick read because Pipkin’s prose flows so easily and comfortably. I didn’t find my inner voice tripping up while reading and it felt like I was on the fast track to healing with Genesis.

Pipkin’s use of characterization is also a highlight in this novel. Each character has a certain specific voice that compliments the others. I didn’t feel like the book was crowding with too many personalities. Each served a specific purpose within the narrative and progression of Genesis’ journey.

Pipkin’s choice of telling the story through prose and playwright was also a bought of genius. I liked having the gears switched, so that I didn’t get too comfortable. It also allowed me to experience the story in a different way without bogging down the narrative with backstory.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes to read stories with characters who face and internal as well as external struggle. It was a beautiful read, and I definitely could see it being a great vacation read.

Bonnie Pipkin can be found on Twitter at @Bonnie_Pipkin, and on Goodreads.

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