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The Girl Who Couldn't Say No

An overview of Tracy Englebrecht's little story of changes, adjustment, love and destiny

Tracy was a good girl who got decent marks and was polite to teachers until, at the age of 14-slash-15, she got pregnant. As Tracy adjusts to her unplanned pregnancy prejudices are challenged at every turn of the page, so much so that the book verbally sticks two fingers up at those who speculate about the circumstances in which her pregnancy arose and how she will cope.

 ‘The Girl Who Couldn't Say No’ is not a story of making a success of life against the odds but of the most physically exhausting and emotional thing a woman will ever experience – motherhood. Although Tracy's pregnancy happens unexpectedly this doesn't mean that it doesn't happen for a reason. In fact it is the very thing that helps Tracy to discover who she really is and turns out to be the making of rather than the breaking of her.

As Tracy is catapulted into adulthood she is forced to take on new responsibilities and make adjustments including coming to terms with missing out on her teenage years and strained relationships with classmates. Tracy thinks she knows all of the answers but some of them surprise her. She discovers that adults aren't always the all-knowing, all-powerful supreme beings she grew up thinking they were. Despite initial prejudice and shock the book explores the compassion and support she receives from school teachers and doctors and the strength of the family unit. The biggest surprise of all is her natural ability as a mother.

The subject of teenage pregnancy is rarely approached with humour but Tracy counters 'Where is the father?' and 'What the hell were you thinking?' with easily-readable wit. Her story is also a candid account of her mistakes, her humility and her anxieties and self-doubt regarding her ability as a mother as well as her confidence and triumphs. I found myself laughing and crying along with her.

By Lisa Nevitt

‘The Girl Who Couldn't Say No’ by Tracy Engelbrecht

Available online through Kalahari.net for R75, or get an original signed copy from http://tracyengelbrecht.com for R125 including postage to anywhere in SA .

For more inspiring reads be sure to browse our Book Shelf.

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