Sep 112012

Y: A Novel Y: A Novel by Marjorie Celona
Source: Review copy from publisher
Links: Amazon, Goodreads, Author’s website

“My life begins at the Y…” so starts Shannon’s story, a newborn baby dumped at the doors of the local YMCA. Bounced between foster homes, Shannon longs to uncover her roots. Where is she from? Who is her mother? And why would she abandon Shannon on the day she was born?

The answers lie in the heartbreaking tale of her mother’s family, and their flawed and desperate fate. Through Marjorie Celona’s intimate observations and quirky wit, present and past converge to shape a unique and lasting story of identity and inheritance. A novel that asks us to consider the “why” of our lives, even as it reveals that the answer isn’t always clear.

This was a sad tragic story told in a poetic and lyrical manner. It was full of beautiful flowing descriptions and intense feelings.

Told in alternating chapters, we learn both Shannon’s life story and what happened to her mother to cause her to leave Shannon on the steps on the YMCA. I preferred the mother’s story over Shannon’s. I found Yula’s life to be interesting, and quite different from what Shannon imagined it to be.

I wasn’t very impressed with Shannon. Her behaviour was annoying and her treatment of Miranda was selfish and ungrateful. Yes, she had a horrible childhood full of brutal abuses, but I don’t think it excuses her attitude towards Miranda. I just plain didn’t like her, which makes it hard to love the story.

Regardless of how I felt about Shannon, the story itself was moving and intense. It was tragic and sad, and beautifully written. This is an emotional story, and I doubt anyone can read it without at least tearing up.

3 stars

Challenges read for:

The Canadian Book Challenge 6

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