Bristol Palin's Memoir Excerpt: 'Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far'

Read the teen mom-turned-teen advocate's intimate memoir.

June 21, 2011— -- Bristol Palin became famous when her mother, Sarah Palin, ran for vice-president in 2008, but when the teen got pregnant, she was thrust into the national spotlight for reasons all her own.

Since then, the now 20-year-old has generated numerous headlines, including for her on-again, off-again relationship with Levi Johnston, the father of her son, Tripp; for becoming a spokeswoman for teen pregnancy prevention; for advancing to the finals of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and most recently for having a much slimmer face.

Palin explained that she had undergone "corrective jaw surgery" that was medically necessary."

In "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far," Palin shares intimate details about her life, including the night she lost her virginity while drunk on wine coolers.

Read an excerpt from "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far" below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library.


After Dancing with the Stars, I knew more about "body makeup," paso doble, and David Hasselhoff than I ever wanted to know. I left with great friends, newfound confidence, and a hefty check that I used to invest in real estate to help secure my future with Tripp.

But none of it was "real." Though emotions sometimes got carried away, they were the kind of emotions that spring from unusually cool circumstances, glimmery disco balls, and lots of television cameras. The producers made some pretty poignant "backstory" segments to add emotional interest while the contestants rehearsed. That's where viewers learned that Kyle Massey's family was just about to move back to Georgia when he finally got work on That's So Raven, about Jennifer Grey's automobile accident, and about Florence Henderson's grief over her husband's death. Though the segments were sleekly produced tearjerkers, they at least hinted at the "reality" that this "reality television show" had taken us away from. The backstories, were, of course, the real stories.

When the show was over, we all faded back into life and Dancing with the Stars became just a chapter in our lives. (In my case, quite literally!) I was happy to return to my normal life, to help forge a new "backstory" for myself into something better than being a "teen mom" or "teen activist." After all, I'm twenty years old now!

I relaxed in Arizona, where I had just purchased my new home with my earnings from Dancing with the Stars, after the show before I returned to Alaska for Christmas. I was thankful to get back to a simpler life—the kind that consisted of just Tripp and me and snowmachines and absolutely no spinning around in heels and sequins.

One of the cool things about my "backstory life" is that sometimes I get wonderful opportunities to have eye-opening adventures. Dancing with the Stars was one of those experiences, but I had a chance at another when Mom invited me to tag along with her, Dad, Greta van Susteren and her husband, John, and the Reverend Franklin Graham on a humanitarian trip to Haiti. Reverend Graham's organization is called Samaritan's Purse, and they were going to help provide relief for the country that had been ravaged by a terrible earthquake at the beginning of the previous year and ravaged by a cholera epidemic at the end of it. When Mom, Dad, and I had the opportunity to see this horrible epidemic up close, I wasn't sure how I'd handle it.

However, I packed my bag and got on a plane. I definitely couldn't pack my truck and drive there! By the time we arrived, thousands of people had already died. Millions of Haitians were living in tents and huts along the streets and in the rubble in unbelievable conditions. At the cholera treatment center, I saw an eight-month-old boy whose mother had just passed away. The baby's father was caring for him and six other children. He'd walked nine hours through the night from his hut up in the mountains to get the little baby boy to the treatment center. He had nowhere else to go, no other hope, and he barely made it. The baby had so many IVs in his tiny hands his whole body was beginning to swell, and his baby feet—so full of the IV solution—were rock solid. The father was talking to the translator. Though I couldn't understand what he was saying, I could tell by his emotion and urgency that he was trying to give the baby up for a chance at life.

Though they didn't think he'd live through the night, God gave him life.

I actually offered to take the baby home, but you obviously can't just pick up a child and take him out of the country! (It felt wrong to leave him there, though, whatever "the system.") I don't know what will happen to that innocent baby boy, but I will never forget him—or the look of desperation on his father's face…

…Next we got to pass out the Christmas shoeboxes that Samaritan's Purse collects from people all across America. If you're one of those angels who pack a shoebox for that organization, please know that the boxes are appreciated. When I handed the inexpensive boxes to the children, their eyes lit up like an Alaskan kid's eyes might if he'd received a new snowmachine.

It really gave me perspective.

All of the frustration I felt over the rude speculation about my Dancing with the Stars weight disappeared as I watched people without food. "Body image" problems only exist because of our country's wealth, our prosperity, our laptops connecting us with blog accounts, those pesky cameras that add fifteen pounds, and those airbrushed magazines that take off thirty.

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