Y by Marjorie Celona was another Wordfest read for me. Scheduled for release late summer, I read an unpublished proof. I loved this book despite its at times heartbreaking nature. At its heart this is a story about family and what that means to our sense of self. It is about a young woman, Shannon, who was abandoned at birth at the door of the local YMCA and her search for her biological parents.
The narrative alternates between Shannon’s life as she is passed between foster families and the story of Shannon’s biological parents and the events that led to her abandonment. Shannon, the narrator, has a unique perspective on life and some physical limitations that add to the interest of her character and resulting perspective. Like Shannon, nothing in this book is neat or pat but realistic and messy.
The author captures that driving need many adopted children have to know their biological parents, to know why they were abandoned and the oftentimes disconnection they feel amidst their adopted family. At the same time, she tries to show how people can make terrible mistakes yet things can still be ok after great failure and loss.
I will read this book again when it is released.
As I was reading Y, the writing reminded me of another great Canadian writer, Anne-Marie MacDonald, especially her Fall on Your Knees book. Hugely popular, a 2002 Oprah pick, MacDonald's book was also a multi-generational story of a family steeped in secrets.
What gems are you reading?