• Look at You Now

  • My Journey from Shame to Strength
  • By: Liz Pryor
  • Narrated by: Liz Pryor
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (251 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For listeners of Orange Is the New Black and The Glass Castle, a riveting memoir about a lifelong secret and a girl finding strength in the most unlikely place.

In 1979 Liz Pryor is a 17-year-old girl from a good family in the wealthy Chicago suburbs. Halfway through her senior year of high school, she discovers that she is pregnant - a fact her parents are determined to keep a secret from her friends, siblings, and community forever. One snowy January day, after driving across three states, her mother drops her off at what Liz thinks is a Catholic home for unwed mothers - but which is, in truth, a locked government-run facility for delinquent and impoverished pregnant teenage girls.

In the cement-block residence, Liz is alone and terrified, a fish out of water - a girl from a privileged, sheltered background living amid tough, street-savvy girls who come from the foster care system or juvenile detention. But over the next six months, isolated and in involuntary hiding from everyone she knows, Liz develops a surprising bond with the other girls and begins to question everything she once held true.

Told with tenderness, humor, and an open heart, Look at You Now is a deeply moving story about the most vulnerable moments in our lives - and how a willingness to trust ourselves can permanently change who we are and how we see the world.

©2016 Liz Pryor (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Engrossing.... Readers will swiftly be drawn into the author's compassionate retelling of her teen pregnancy - her fear, shame, regret, joy, and even her forgiveness of her parents for sending her away. This coming-of-age memoir is authentic and unforgettable." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Pryor's refusal to bury the truth of her experiences is the greatest strength of her book. Her honesty about a youthful error and desire to let that honesty define the rest of her life are both uplifting and inspiring. An unsentimental yet moving coming-of-age memoir." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"I started reading this book thinking it was a compelling, honest, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant look at the world of teenage pregnancy, and knowing it would offer an inside look at the places where girls used to be hidden away until their babies came. I finished it damp-eyed and understanding that Look at You Now is much more than that. It is a story about how family dynamics work. It is about how wrenching it is to give away something born of your flesh, even if you know it's the right decision. It's about how much we can learn from people very much different from us. Most of all, it is a subtle, graceful story about how sometimes the worst things in our lives work best to shape our characters into something shining and true, something that will serve us for the rest of our lives. Liz Pryor says she will never forget the girls she shared that time of her life with. I will never forget this book. I really, really loved it." (Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover)

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What listeners say about Look at You Now

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring & heart wrenching

Great story of overcoming major life challenge. Can't believe the maturity of Liz. Had to keep reminding myself that this really happened. When is book 2 coming out?!

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing. Spoilers below.

Privileged girl is whisked away to have her baby in secret. For five months she keeps company with underprivileged pregnant teens and is nice to them, influences one or two to consider adoption, learns that her own family feels entitled to the best of everything, yet despite all this wealth, no one even offers to help her with keeping her and her baby together.

Girl signs the papers, and reflects on how nice it is to return to her own life, but what a bummer it is to have to keep this secret - but at least she will be able to keep living her life.

Then the book ends.

That is why i am giving this just 2 stars. Did she never think of the baby again? Did the child grow up and seek contact? Does the girl ever wonder what might have been if she had kept her baby?

Adoption stories don’t end with the paperwork. This reads almost like a book written for teens considering adoption, under-emphasizing the lasting emotional impact of adoption and the trauma is causes mother and child. It glosses over that part saying she was told it is normal
to get the blues.

No follow up with the other girls in the home, either.

I will never re-listen to this book, the ending was so disappointing.

Everyone has a right to tell their story, and that’s fine, i just have limited empathy for a privileged girl whose biggest story to tell is how she once had a baby, then gave it away and everything was okay. Compared to all the other girls in that home, i don’t really care about Liz by the end.

4 people found this helpful

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Don't believe the hype

Pregnant rich girl gets whisked off to live at a juvenile pregnancy/detention center to have her baby undetected. She of course does outreach with the other girls while there. Has her baby and returns to her normal life just in time for high school graduation. Obscene amount of profanity and non-existent moral code.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Decent story, terrible narration

What did you like best about Look at You Now? What did you like least?

Compelling, heart-felt story. You could empathize with the characters and their various back stories. I think the writing is very good, good character development. In general I don't like a ton of profanity, but here it's purposeful. You know this was the way these characters spoke. It helped define them and the environment from which they came. It made them real and relatable. It also made it easier to see why Liz' mother related to them the way she did.

How could the performance have been better?

The author should not have narrated this book. It's as if she's reading a text book or something - very mundane, no emotion most of the time. Virtually every sentence ends with her voice falling off. Boring, boring, boring. I would have stopped listening because of the narration, but kept going until the end because I wanted to hear how it all turned out.

4 people found this helpful

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Highly recommend.

Liz, truly a page turner. Thanks for letting the reader experience your journey as if they were right there with you. Sandy P.

3 people found this helpful

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What a story....

I only wish I could add stars!!! I enjoyed this book very much. My chills got chills!! Well done Liz Pryor.

7 people found this helpful

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Loved this!

What a great story! Kind of reminiscent of the movie Girl, Interrupted but not as twisted or crazy.

The author did such an amazing job of bringing these characters to life. I could feel myself in this facility, feel their battles.

Good and easy read!

2 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly realistic

It is a little mild surprise that the protagonist ends up in a home for unwed teens. I didn't think they existed any more. The placement in the 1970's probably lends authenticity tiby
Lll

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Loved the story but ending felt very incomplete

Because of the title it’s hard to fathom that after all she and doors and the garage she has to do what she does all comes down to that one moment of redemption. He didn’t feel like it. It really felt either disingenuous or inComplete

1 person found this helpful

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Remembering times were so different not long ago

I felt interestingly connected to the story. My mother had me at the same age only a few years after this story takes place. Its interesting to see how times have changed in such a short time. I also identify with Liz in how she feels about her parents at the end, two odd bookends that somehow manage to hold her up in their own way. Great read and a powerful story for someone to be brave enough to share. I'd be interested in knowing if she ever got in touch with any of the other girls...

1 person found this helpful