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After by Amy Efaw
Transcript of After by Amy Efaw
The novel that I read took place in Tacoma, Washington. The main character, Devon, attends Stadium High School. She lives in apartment buildings located in Tacoma. After she is charged with attempted murder, she is put into the Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center.
Devon Davenport is the protagonist in my novel. Devon is a 15 year old girl who is an amazing athlete on multiple soccer teams. She is also a straight-A student and a very responsible young women who enjoys babysitting and teaching children new skills. Devon always strives to be everything that her mom was not. She tries to be strong, independent, and reliable. She has very strict rules and regulations for herself that she hopes to follow throughout her life.
The antagonist in my novel is Devon's mother, Jenifer Davenport. Jenifer is a flirtatious attractive blonde woman that works two jobs to support her family. She has a less than desirable relationship with her daughter, Devon. Jenifer was also a teen mother and has been alone ever since the birth of Devon other than the occasional boyfriend that has come and gone. Jenifer has raised Devon to the best of her abilities and provided for all of her physical needs, but lacked a lot in emotional support during Devon's childhood.
Devon Davenport is home from school sick, while behind her apartment a newborn baby is found in a trash can. Once an ambulance arrives to pick up the baby, the police begin to canvass the area around the trash looking for witnesses and hopefully the mother of the abandoned baby. While searching a local apartment, the police find Devon clinging to life on her blood soaked couch. Devon is soon taken to a nearby hospital where she puts up an enormous fight with her doctors, kicking and punching with all her might. After she finally calms down she delivers the placenta, but has no recollection of having a baby or ever even being pregnant. Despite her denial and disbelieve, Devon is taken to jail and thrown into a world of 24 hour observation, steel bars, and cement floors.
Devon is taken to the Ramann Hall Juvenile Detention Center. Once she arrives there, she is examined by Dr. Bacon, a psychiatrist, and is introduced to her lawyer, Dom. Later on, Devon meets the other residents of Ramann Hall and gets to know her new home. Dom helps Devon to adjust to jail, and also works with Devon to build a case for her upcoming declination trail. A declination trail is where a judge decides if the criminal will be trialed as a juvenile or an adult.
The day is here, it is Devon’s day at court. Both sides present evidence and question witnesses. For Devon it is very hard day because she sees her soccer coach, her mom, and her friends for the first time since her heinous crime. Everyone on her side provides an encouraging and nice testimony to the type of girl Devon is, which very much surprises her. The judge decides that Devon will be tried as a juvenile in her future trial.
Devon, Jenifer, and Dom go into a conference room to celebrate their win. While celebrating, Dom hits on key points that could help Devon get lesser charges brought against her. As Dom is whirling out all of these ideas, Devon becomes very uneasy and frankly upset.
Devon finally admits to realizing what she has done. She also admits that she knows that she was pregnant, and that when she had the baby she was in a state of denial and panic, leading her to threw it in the trash. Devon decides to plead guilty and serve her time because it is what she deserved.
During Devon’s declination hearing, Jenifer starts to question how she raised Devon. She is convinced that it is her fault that Devon abandoned her baby. Jenifer believes that if she would have raised Devon differently and had a more open relationship with Devon she would have been more likely to talk to her about her problem instead of taking care of it herself.
Devon vs. Herself
During the novel, Devon fights her conscience and memory. Days after her crime, Devon can barely remember anything, but by the end of her hearing she can remember everything. She soon regrets every choice the she made during the past 9 months. Once Devon finally accepts that she was pregnant, she beats herself up for being sexually active and for following in her mother’s footsteps. Devon also becomes very angry at herself for pushing everyone in her life away and not seeking help.
Devon vs. Other Inmates
Rammann Hall Juvenile Detention Center is an all new world for Devon with a whole new breed of girls, which brings about multiple problems for Devon. Devon has a very hard time becoming friends with the girls in her block and even makes an enemy. Most of the girls just ignore Devon, but one enjoys making Devon's life harder than it already is. Her name is Karma, and she torments Devon daily. Devon deals with it all very well, but it is still a challenge she has to overcome daily.
Devon vs. State
This is the main conflict in the novel. Even though, Devon is only 15 years old the state believes she should be trailed as an adult because of the seriousness of her crimes. This means Devon will have a declination hearing. For this hearing, Devon is assigned a lawyer, Dom. Dom is supposed to build a case for Devon, so that she can stay in the juvenile system. Dom puts together a case that shows how Devon is very responsible and has great potential for rehabilitation. Devon wins the court case and is scheduled for a later court date for her murder charges.
I really enjoyed this book. I believe one drawback was that the plot was not super exciting and neither were the characters. However, the book offers a very moving journey and an insight into the dramatic events in one teen’s life. After reading some other people’s reviews, a common complaint was that the book ended too abrupt. On the contrary, I believe the ending made the book. The ending shows the main character, Devon’s, full circle journey. I would recommend this book to teen girls because that is who it is reaching out to.
Dom Barcellona is a supporting character in my novel. Dom is the lawyer that is assigned to Devon’s court case. Dom is a serious and confident young woman who starts out as Devon’s lawyer but soon becomes one of her closest friends. Dom struggles getting information out of Devon in their first few meetings, but as Devon gains trust in Dom she begins to open up. Eventually, Devon becomes comfortable enough to tell Devon her memories from that day.
Denial is a strong protection that the mind uses to trick a person.
"Denial is a defense mechanism... its the mind's ability to not acknowledge something that is truly happening. its the mind's way of keeping unpleasant things to check so that we don't become distressed all the time." (329)
"Devon's mind kicked in denial mode because she couldn't deal with the fact that she had had sex. Because she had convinced herself that the sexual relationship never occurred, she could then rationalize away the possibility that she might be pregnant." (331)
"So Devon denied engaging in any sexual activity. And she denied the possibility of pregnancy. But Devon was pregnant all along." (332)
No matter how hard we try we can't change our fate.
"I learned that Devon had viewed herself in a very particular-very rigid-way. she desperately needed to see herself as someone diametrically different from her mother." (330)
"Devon's mother had been a teen parent herself....and as Devon grew up, her mother entered into relationship with a variety of men. She paraded her sexuality in front of Devon in a manner that Devon both resented and feared.... Devon was terrified of repeating family history.... So, she came up with Rule Number One for herself- avoid any sexual activity."(330)
"Her mom, who's more child than adult most of the time. Her mom, who still hasn't bothered to see what's become of her in the days that have pasted. Her mom, who hasn't come to reach out and touch her and tell her that everything will be all right because she'll take care of it." (81)
All of the quotes listed above are related to how Devon's mind tricked her into forget the things that are too hard to remember. They also explain how her denial kept building up until the ultimate reality occurred.
All of these quotes explain how Devon had serious rules and expectations for herself because she wanted to change and be nothing like her mother. Often times it is a child's fate to follow in the footsteps of their parent.