Berlie Doherty - DEAR NOBODY
Plot: The book ' Dear Nobody ' is about teenage pregnancy. It shows the problems young people have to face in case of a pregnancy like non-acceptance of the society and problems with their parents, who often blame their kids, and can't accept the new situation. The book is also about the problems of growing up, about kids, who have to make future plans and decide what they want to do with their life. And it is about the relation between kids and their parents.
Background: The story takes place in Sheffield, in Great Britain. You can't really guess the time in which the story is set, but I think it takes place in the late 20th century. The people, who occur in the book are members of the middle class. The main characters are teenagers at the age of 18.
CHRIS(TOPHER):He is the boyfriend of Helen. He narrates the book with his point of view He is a very sensitive and cheerful person. Chris loves Helen very much and is afraid of losing her. When Helen tells him about the baby he doesn't realise what this means to his life. He cannot think about it he is just desperate not to lose Helen. In the end, when he sees the baby for the first time, he realises that he wasn't ready for being a father. Christopher has a good relationship to his father. He is very happy about getting to know his mother.
HELEN: She is the daughter of an 'intact' middle class family. She loves music and she wants to visit a music college one day. Helen can't talk with her parents about things like love and sex. When she realises that she is pregnant she can't talk to anybody especially not to her parents. It takes very long until she can overcome her inhibitions and tell it Chris. But Chris can't really help her although he suports her emotionally. Because she can't talk to anybody she starts writing letters to her unborn baby. When her mother wants her to have an abortion she flees from the clinic because she can't kill the person she talks to every day. Helen decides to finish with Chris,that he can take his place at Newcastle University and besides she doesn't feel ready to share her life with him forever. She really would like to have a closer relationship to her mother. That her mother tells her that she has been an illegitimate child brings them closer together because now Helen can understand her mother better.
MRS. GARTON (Helens mother):She is very conservative She isn't really happy about the relationship between Helen and Chris. She thinks that they are too young. When she finds out that Helen is pregnant she wants her to have an abortion because she doesn't want what happened in her childhood to happen again.
MR. GARTON: He works in a library but he has always wanted to become a musician. He has never had the chance to visit a Music college. Now he wants Helen to visit the Music college because he couldn't.
When he gets to know that Helen is pregnant he doesn't know what to do or how to behave but he tries to support Helen.
MR MARSHALL(Chris' father):He loves his two children very much and he tries to help them wherever he can. He couldn't forgive his wife that she has left the family.
JOAN(Chris' mom):She was very young when she married Chris' dad. She was searching more for a Father than for a husband. She feels guilty for having left the family. She is very happy to get to know her son.
Summary: The story starts in October. Chris is sitting in his room when his father comes in and brings him a parcel. It is a present from Helen. The parcel is filled with letters which all begin with the same words: ' Dear Nobody'. Chris starts reading the letters and they take him back to January, where the whole story began. The book is a compilation of what Chris' narrates out of his point of view, and Helen's letters.
It all started in late January, nine months ago. Chris and Helen make love without thinking of contraception. When Chris returns home he starts talking with his father about his mother, who has left the family when Chris and his brother Guy were younger. Chris decides to write her a letter. One month later he gets a reply from his mother named Joan. But she only writes about herself and it looks as if she doesn't want to know anything about her son, who she hasn't seen for years. Chris is very disappointed about her.
The next days Helen behaves very strangely. She doesn't talk much and looks as if she is sick. One day Helen tells Chris that she is probably pregnant. First Chris is shocked, but he says, that he will stay with her whatever she decides to do. At that time Helen writes her first 'Dear Nobody' letter.
She makes a pregnancy test, which is negative .She is very happy about the result and she wants to tell it Chris. But at Chris' place she suddenly faints and because of that she makes another pregnancy test. This one is positive. Helen doesn't know how her life should go on and some days later Helen has a failed suicide.
Helen doesn't dare to talk to her mother. But her mother realises that there must be something wrong with her. She asks Helen if she is pregnant and Helen tells her about it. Her mother wants her to have an abortion. So she takes Helen to an abortion clinic. But Helen flees from the abortion clinic and tells her parents that she wants to keep the baby. For the next time Chris isn't allowed to meet Helen because Mrs. Garton tells him that he mustn't get in touch with Helen any longer. But she can't keep them away from each others. Chris is very happy that Helen has decided to keep the baby. One day the Gartons visit Mr. Marshal because they want Helen and Chris to get married, but then they see that Helen and Chris are too young. In the meantime Helen and Chris visit his mother. His mother is very nice. She tells Chris why she left her family and Chris understands her reasons Joan wants to help Chris and Helen with their baby.
At the beginning of June Chris' and Helen's exams start. When the exams are over Helen closes up with Chris. Chris is completely desperate. He still loves Helen very much and he even has made future plans for them.
One day when Helen talks with her grandmother about the pregnancy. Her grandmother says something strange:" Like mother, like daughter". Helen confronts her mother with what her grandmother has said and her mother tells her that she has been an illegitimate child and that she had a very hard childhood because of that. After that Helen feels closer to her mother than ever before.
In summer Chris makes a cycling trip through France with a friend. After the holidays Chris and Helen get their degrees. Helen gets all As and Chris gets A, B, Cs. Chris' mom writes Helen That she will support her financially. Chris mom and her boyfriend visit Chris' dad. Joan wants to divorce because she wants to marry her boyfriend. They spend some days together with Chris.
In October, on the evening before Chris leaves for university Helen gets contractions. She takes all the 'Dear Nobody' letters she has writen and gives them her brother to take them to Chris. That takes the story back to where it began. After having read the last letter Chris drives immediately to hospital to see Helen and his baby.
Their baby is a girl and they call it Amy. The next day Chris goes to University like he has planned to do. One month later he gets a letter from Helen in which she writes him that she is very happy about her life with their daughter Amy.
Doherty, Berlie: Dear Nobody. 1991.