This heartbreaking story is about a high school couple, Jeremy and China who seem to have a deep sense of love, or of what they think love should be for each other, which for them is extremely physical as it is for most sexually active high school students in puppy love relationships. Sometimes when you’re young and in love you can do things without thinking which can later lead to negative consequences. In this story “The Love of My Life” by T. Coraghessan Boyle there are several themes, but consequence and love is what catches my attention after reading this story a numerous of times.
First there were consequences when Jeremy and China had sex, China became pregnant. Also there were consequences when China decided to give birth to the baby and keep it a secret, actually very dangerous birthing almost killing herself. There were consequences when Jeremy threw the baby in the dumpster, China and Jeremy we’re arrested. Several of these negative life long consequences could have been prevented, if only the two of them had thought them through more cautiously and rationally.
Yet on the other hand, they are only eighteen years old, but that is no excuse they are both old enough to know right from wrong. In fact along with the theme of consequences, I also see the important insight into a pregnant teen’s thoughts and as well as her significant others. According to www. hhs. gov the rate of pregnancy is getting higher and higher every year even being considered a growing high school trend. Since the pregnancy rate of high school students is rising, I think the story “The Love of My Life” is expectedly relevant to today’s society.
For many of us, without having experienced a teen pregnancy through the transition of high school to your first year college, it is easy for me to say “oh that sucks for them” or “they’re are stupid”. However through this story, we are able to experience the difficulties of dealing with the emotional and physical pains of high school relationships, a pregnancy during the freshman year of college, and the confusion of what to do afterwards when you have no support through the eyes of Jeremy and China.
I think “The Love of My Life” can definitely be used to help high school girls and guys going through the same situation, to rationally think about the situation they are in, and the consequences of their actions that will cause an effect on their life in the future. Nevertheless Jeremy and China seem to be the cliche version of a senior couple. China as the intelligent, diligent, and over achieving student accepted to her first choice college at Binghamton, while Jeremy is the laid back, easy going, but also a very bright guy and got into this school of his first choice at providence.
Furthermore as the story progresses we find that they are forced into a dilemma, China is pregnant and wants to keep the baby but doesn’t want anyone to know she’s pregnant. Like when she’s in her college dorm she wears baggy clothes and tells herself “so what if I’m putting on weight everybody does” not wanting to accept the fact that she is pregnant (350). The theme love is dealt with in this story really extensively, making me question about the definition of the word love.
The two teens define the word love in throughout actions they do for each other. China seems to think love should be “the way it was in the movie, where the stars ambushed each other on beds the size of a small planets and did it again and again until they lay nestled in a heap of pillows and blankets” (346). They kissed every time they met because “that was love, that was the way love was” (347). And for their spring break trip, Jeremy “didn’t even bring his fishing rod and that was love” (348).
Their idea of love is called into question though once China is pregnant. Jeremy begins to think of her as “stupid”, “stubborn”, and “irrational” (350). Yet he does what she asks him to do when she tells him to “get rid of it”, meaning the child (351). The way he just tosses the baby inside of a garbage bag then throws the baby inside of a dumpster hearing the bang when it hits the bottom of the on a freezing snowy night I begin to think Jeremy doesn’t even have a heart to love with. Does love mean doing whatever someone asks you to do?
After reading this story I am lead to question the strength of China’s love too, because in the end she chooses to testify against Jeremy, blaming him for the death of their child claiming to have believed she had a miscarriage, even though she said herself she could feel the baby breathing while handing it to Jeremy. Yet she claims to still love him. T. Coraghessan Boyle also ties in the theme of love through the story, with each trial, literally and figuratively, China’s love for Jeremy proves strong.
During one of their trials they got one minute to talk to each other and China says “I love you, will always love you no matter what, more than moon” her referring to her favorite poem she told him on the camping trip they went on, which was the day he got her pregnant and the day before they went their separate ways going off to college (354). It is also easy to conclude this from the last few lines of the story, when T. Coraghessan Boyle states “He was Jeremy. He was the love of her life. And she closed her eyes and clung to him as if that were all that mattered’ (356).
Lastly after reading the story “The Love of My Life” I learned a few important lessons that I can use in everyday life and can relate to in the real world. First is for every action there is a reaction, in other words anytime I do something there is always going to be a consequence, so when I do things at the heat of the moment without thinking it can have a life lasting effect on my life. Secondly love may not be what everyone thinks it really is. To me it’s not doing anything your partner says to like Jeremy and China, its feeling deeply attached to your significant other and willing to spend the rest of your life with them.