GIANNA: A Book Review



by Jessica Shaver

Tyndale House, 1999,  Reviewed by Kaye Angela Cinco

The Synopsis

      At the age of 17, Tina got pregnant. She had her baby for 7 and 1/2 months. She went to an abortion in a clinic where there’s a lot of teenage girls who will go on abortion too. She had saline solution injected into her womb which the doctor took some fluid out of the uterus and injected a salt solution. And the baby swallows it and goes into convulsions. Usually a few hours or a day later, the mother goes into labor and delivers a dead baby. After few hours taking the solution, Tina’s water broke. She keeps on calling the nurse but no one comes. And then she found out a fetal tissue. By the time she got back to bed, Tina’s abdomen were contracting insistently. Reaching down, she felt a wet, solid curve of a skull. Everyone got shocked when a 2-pound baby emerged and it was really alive. It is a baby girl. Tina was the only woman in the clinic who delivered an alive baby and the rest delivered a limp, lifeless fetuses. They clearly see the eyes and the nose of the baby. They have to rush the baby and Tina to the hospital. While Tina is in the ambulance, the nurse said she has to sign those forms and give her a name. And the baby was named Gianna. She was raised in Nashville, Tennessee, California.  Gianna was probably kept in an incubator in the preemie nursery until she was big enough to leave the hospital. But Tina kept her for a short time, then the Department of Social Services placed her in a foster care for not being properly cared for.

     Penny got her parent’s permission to baby sit as infant who lived accross the street and she stated to adopt kids with different life situations. One day in 1978, OCSS called Penny and said they have a little girl who’s a 17-month old with a cerebral palsy living in a foster home who can’t handle her anymore so she asked Penny if she can take Gianna. Penny picked up Gianna and had her home. She called her daughter Diana and tell her she got a cute little girl. Penny took care of Gianna properly. She even rubbed Gianna’s legs and worked her feet. She even let Gianna sing with her. Penny asked Diana to adopt Gianna for two weeks while she was out of town. Gianna was treated well in Diana and Dene’s house, husband of Diana. Gianna was already part of the family. They didn’t even know when Gianna was aborted because the papers have different information. Diana remembered that it’s legal to abort at 7 months. According to Supreme Court in 1973, they made abortion legal through all 9 months of pregnancy that’s why Gianna had cerebral palsy. The doctors said Gianna would never sit up much less walk. But then Gianna can do both. Yet Diana told her that’s because Grammy, Penny worked with her, massaging her legs and feet and exercising them.

     Diana attempted to tell Gianna many times about the truth. On Christmas Day on 1989, Diana doesn’t want yet to tell Gianna but she thinks it’s God timing to let her know. Gianna was schedules for a serious surgery and Diana was not sure if Gianna could carry two burdens. Diana asked Gianna if she wants to know the truth. She told Gianna that her biological mother was only 17-year old that was a very young age. She was scared, without hope, or someone to support her. Gianna beat her and knew that she was aborted. Diana got shocked how Gianna knew it. Diana told Gianna to always remember that she was not supposed to live but God allowed her to have life and always rejoice for that gift.

     When Gianna turned into a young woman, she improved her singing skills. And with that, she was discovered and asked to perform at different television shows and churches as well. She had concerts and guestings. She had a lot of interviews as a victim of abortion. She even had an interview with Josh McDowell, TBN as well, and many more.

     Although the doctor who tried to abort Gianna now owns 46 clinics throughout the Southwest and is still doing abortions, Gianna’s book created a precautionary measure to all the women who wished to abort their babies. Women became wary and doubtful on the means of abortion. It has been a wake up call to every women who felt the need for abortion. The book strongly suggests that abortion does not only affect the mother but mostly the child who’ll most likely suffer from physical, mental, emotional trauma.

The Review

     The story is all about a 17-year old teenage girl named Tina who got pregnant for 7 and 1/2 months who went to an abortion by taking saline solution and injected it to her. Unexpectedly, the baby was still delivered alive. Tina, the nurses and the women who’s with her in the clinic didn’t expect what happened because women who usually abort their babies came out with a dead body. After that, they found out that the baby has cerebral palsy because it was delivered 7 months and it was supposedly 9 months . And also, it’s because of the loss of oxygen. The baby was named Gianna. Gianna has 3 mothers. Tina her biological mother, Penny her foster mother who picked her up in a foster care and took care of her for a short time and Diana her adoptive mother who took care of her for a long time. Diana had a difficult time on how to tell Gianna the truth,  but then she did. She tell Gianna to always remember that she is a wonderful gift from God. A child with a cerebral palsy will not be able to crawl and walk but Gianna knows how and I think that’s a miracle. When Gianna turned into a young woman, she improved her singing skills. And with that, she was discovered and ask to perform at different television shows and churches as well. She had concerts, a lot of interviews and guestings.

    The author of “Gianna” is Jessica Shaver. The theme of this book is about Abortion. It’s a non-fiction book. The genre of this book is for adults and teens as well.

     Jessica Shaver is the author of this novel “Gianna”. She holds a master’s degree in English literature and has creative writing, poetry, and women’s Bible studies. I think Jessica Shaver wrote this to raise awareness on the effects of abortion to women and their children. It is vital that women realized the adverse effects of abortion may it be therapeutic or non-therapeutic. Younger women who get impregnated need to connect to their parents or anyone close to them inorder to prevent wrongful decisions in life. Aborted children who live after the horrible trauma are the ones affected and suffer the most and not the mothers. The author wishes to send a message to the world that abortion maybe legal but is totally erroneous.

     From the beginning of the story, page 3 paragraph 3. Someone reassured her that “It is the best thing. We know, we’ve walked in your shoes.” For me, it is very unlikely to give an advice to someone who is just 17-year old. I believe on that on her age, Tina was still very immature and perhaps, she does not realize the consequences of that procedure. It is not right to give advice to a person specially if it is a life-threatening situation. Others could be in our shoe, however not all of us has the same views and coping mechanisms. If the person is depressed, there is a big possibility that she may listen to whatever absured advice that one may give her. Instead of advicing abortion, she should have been told to talk to her mother or a psychiatrist.

     Abortion has never been right. Although some countries consider abortion legal but some countries consider it as illegal and immoral. The bible condemns any kinds of killings. Once a woman performs abortion, it will forever haunt her. The experience and memories of having an abortion may destruct the mental and emotional.

     The story created a positive impact to me. I have learned that as a woman, I should plan for my pregnancy. It is not easy to nurture a child especially if a woman is mentally and emotionally disturbed. Not all of us is given a comfortable and luxurious life; however we should learn to accept whatever comes to our lives no matter how different the circumstance is.

     I highly recommend this book to women of any age so that they will learn some insights about married life and parenthood. It is essential that these group of women learn the value of raising a child. It’s much better to have a prepared pregnancy rather than an unplanned one. Pregnancy before wedlock affects the mother and the child physically, mentally and emotionally. Pregnancy is a hard battle that a woman may encounter yet a blessing thereafter. The birth of a child no matter what the mother has gone through her pregnancy gives meaning and justice to a woman’s suffering.


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