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Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Andrew F. Altschul

Subject Areas



Unplanned is a realistic fiction novel that deals with issues of family, independence, control, intimacy, and class through its first-person narrator, Sadie Flannery. Sadie grew up on an alfalfa farm in Ephrata, Washington, and the novel begins shortly after her graduation from Princeton. She is an ambitious young professional, determined to succeed in her consulting job and escape her small-town roots, but then--just when her meticulous life plan is clicking into place--she gets pregnant. The pregnancy forces her to confront the opposing forces of her small-town past and her current, urban life.

Sadie is determined to have the baby without failing in her career. She fears repeating the life of her mother, a woman who married young and took the backseat to her children and unfaithful husband. But Sadie is independent to a fault: she pushes others away, convinced that any sort of dependence is a weakness. Throughout the novel, her interactions with other characters--especially Chris (the baby's father) and her family--force her to broaden her views and accept the help she refuses to seek.

Unplanned is a humorous novel with an engaging plot, but it is also a commentary on what it means to be a successful woman in contemporary America.