I read this entire book without putting it down once. I know the book is only 130 pages, so that doesn’t sound impressive, but I don’t think I’ve read a book in one sitting since The Hunger Games came out. This is going to be a short review. I don’t have much to say other than “This little book is good!”
Anyway, The First Part Last is about Bobby, a sixteen-year-old who is raising his newborn daughter on his own.
The book is written in a fragmented writing style that really allows the reader to experience Bobby’s exhaustion, confusion, and desperation. He’s trying to do what’s right for his daughter, but he doesn’t always make the best choices. The writing style reminds me of urban poetry at times. The chapters alternate between “Then” and “Now.” The “Then” chapters are about Nia’s pregnancy, and the “Now” chapters are about Bobby’s struggle to raise their daughter. Even though the book is intense, it’s not hopeless. You get a sense that Bobby will do whatever it takes to care for his child.
Even though this is a contemporary book, there is a lot of suspense. The reader doesn’t find out why Nia isn’t involved in the baby’s life until the end. Older readers will probably pick up on the foreshadowing and figure it out before the end, but younger readers may be surprised.
This is an important book because it focuses on a teen father. In our society, teen mothers get all of the attention, but there are fathers who are raising children alone. They deserve to have their stories told, too.