Aftercare Instructions: A Novel

Aftercare Instructions: A Novel

by Bonnie Pipkin


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A big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

Aftercare Instructions, an electric debut full of heart and hope, follows Gen on a big-hearted journey from dorm rooms to diners to underground theaters—and ultimately, right into readers' hearts.

Important, fierce. Pipkin stole my heart with this book.” —A.S. King, author of Still Life with Tornado

“Mighty, innovative, and nearly impossible to put down.” —David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland

“Incredibly honest and empathetic.—ALA Booklist

“Big-hearted, sensitive, and engrossing.Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250114853
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 764,278
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Bonnie Pipkin believes in prose, performances, puppet shows, and public displays of affection. Originally from California, Bonnie now lives in Brooklyn. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaches literature courses at Kean University, officiates weddings, and looks after a very cute cat. Aftercare Instructions is Bonnie’s first novel.

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Aftercare Instructions 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Michelle47 More than 1 year ago
Bonnie Pipkin’s AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS is an emotional tour-de-force. Pipkin’s novel opens up with Genesis leaving the abortion clinic only to find her boyfriend has abandoned her. Pipkin explores an area that’s rarely discussed in a non-political way, perfectly capturing the turmoil and confusion Genesis goes through. I love how the story alternates between the “before” and “after.” The “before” chapters are formatted like a stage play and track the rise and fall of Genesis’s relationship with Peter. It’s a cool, innovative way to lay the foundation for how Genesis ended up at Planned Parenthood and why she’s become the person she is. From page one, the reader is hooked by Genesis’s compelling voice. Her thoughts are raw, genuine, and mature beyond her years. Instead of glorifying Genesis as a one-dimensional heroine who keeps her composure at all times, Pipkin creates a complex heroine who is incredibly resilient yet human at the same time. Thus, readers can empathize with and relate to her. Genesis, understandably, has her meltdown moments, but those moments don’t make her any less strong. Even Pipkin’s secondary characters are well-developed and jump off the page. Peter, the boyfriend, isn’t painted as simply a villain, but rather as someone torn between his family’s religious values and his desires. Pipkin is able to convey so much in her well-chosen words. We can feel the love and frustration and sadness and connection pulsing between all the characters. Aside from complex characters and beautiful writing, Pipkin’s plot itself is gripping and fast-paced. Once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. Overall, AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS is an enthralling, thought-provoking read that everyone can learn from.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Professor Pipkin was a college professor of mine, not once, but twice. This book delivered just as eloquently as I was expecting. She created a world that enveloped me and welcomed me more deeply than anything I’ve read in a while. She tackled difficult topics with poise and grace, aftercare instructions is something every young woman should read. It’s empowering, educational, and everything in between!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful and tragic.
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Genesis fully relies on her boyfriend Peter. He's her rock and she thinks their relationship is solid and forever. This changes drastically when Peter abandons her at Planet Parenthood. Genesis has to go through the termination of her pregnancy on her own without anyone who loves her by her side. This makes her question everything and everyone she knows. Genesis is going through a heavy crisis and she never expected she'd have to do this without Peter. Where did things go wrong between Genesis and Peter and how can she go forward when so much unresolved pain of the past is holding her back? Genesis can't fully control her emotions, she questions old friends and family and she makes new friends in a time when that might not seem to be the best idea. Will she eventually survive the traumatic experiences that keep piling up and can she trust on her best friend and cousin to pull her through? Aftercare Instructions is a fantastic emotional story. Genesis is a strong girl with plenty of talent, but her life is often tough. When she finally thinks she's found safety with someone he abandons her at the worst possible moment. My heart ached for everything Genesis is going through. I had tears in my eyes when I read her story and admired her determination to keep going. She might mess up from time to time, but she does the best she can. She slowly has to learn she can trust people and that she isn't completely on her own, which is a beautiful process to witness. Bonnie Pipkin combines regular chapters with flashbacks about Genesis and Peter in the form of a play. I absolutely loved that. It makes the story dynamic and it paints a very good picture of what's going on between them and what went wrong. I'm a big fan of the theater and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. Aftercare Instructions is an incredible compelling and poignant book. I was impressed by the rawness and openness of it. I was also blown away by the writing and the thought-provoking subject is fantastic. I can't praise this story enough, it's absolutely brilliant and I highly recommend it.
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Well written and has a unique plot. For the right people, this will be an important story, and I'm glad to see it on the shelves.
ahyperboliclife More than 1 year ago
“Sometime you make a choice that can save your life. You might make your choice for one reason, before the real reason ever becomes clear.” I tend to favor character driven stories, and this was a fantastic one. Aftercare Instructions showcases one girls journey as she begins to question her relationships, her choices, and her future. Genesis Johnson’s world seems to be in shambles after her boyfriend abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic, but she soon discovers that she has more possibilities for her future than she expected. Things I Liked I really loves the script-style flashbacks within the story. This might be my favorite use of scripts within a story I’ve ever read. They were so natural, and really showcased Genesis’ evolution and emotions through the story. You can really connect with her journey through these little breaks. A small thing, but I really loved the chapter titles. They all felt really appropriate and relevant to the story. I thought that Genesis and Rose’s relationship was really great. It was great to see that Genesis had someone she trusted and who fully supported her in her corner. But I love that they didn’t always see eye-to-eye, they challenged each other in the best way to help each other grow. Even with the intense subject matter, the story had a very hopeful and full-circle feeling that was completely satisfying. After everything that Genesis had gone through is was great to see her grow, and look forward to the future and it’s possibilities. Things I Didn’t Like I would have loved to have a bit more closure with Genesis’ relationship with Vanessa. We did get a great scene where they talk and have the potential to move forward, but their relationship was a little unfinished. This was such a fantastic character driven story. You feel connected to Genesis and her journey. It’s an emotionally complex story that keeps you engaged. I received a copy of the book from Flatiron books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.