November 25, 2012

Y - Marjorie Celona

An Advance Readers' Copy of this book was sent to a friend of mine over the summer (it was released in September) and she raved about it and passed it on to me when she finished.  It later made the Giller long-list, but was cut when the shortlist was announced.

I don't think, with all of the books that I've read, that I've ever read a book dealing with the themes of this book, and it fascinated me.  Shannon (a.k.a. Shandi, Samantha, or Jo) is abandoned as a newborn on the steps of the Victoria YMCA.  She enters the foster-care system and is later adopted.  Layered with Shannon's story is the story of her parents and the events that led up to her abandonment; and later the threads of the life of Vaughn, the man who saw Shannon being left on the doorstop, are woven in as well.

Y, the title, can represent a fork in the road.  Yes or No?  The question, "Why?"  Or it can just be the Y where Shannon was abandoned.

Shannon, as she grows up, deals with issues of abandonment; issues of being adopted into a pre-existing family; issues of identity; issues of abuse.  I found her story to be very compelling.  Yula, her birth mother, I found much less sympathetic; however it was Yula's story that eventually brought tears to my eyes.  Vaughn, I found to be almost a non-entity, only introduced as a plot device.

Overall, I enjoyed this book... with reservations.  Those reservations come in the form of the inconsistency of the writing (e.g. Vaughn's story being introduced late in the day), as well as the neat and tidy ending, whereas in real life things seldom wrap up that way.  I would recommend this book to someone looking for an interesting read.  This is the author's first published novel, and I have very high hopes for her future books.

This book, along with the 3 previous reviews (419, Forgotten, and Bones are Forever) all count towards the Canadian Book Challenge over at The Book Mine Set.  5 books down, 8 left to go, with 7 months left to go.  Should make it this year!

(I was on holidays this week, lounging on a beach in Florida, hence the time for reading lots of books and getting my reviews up-to-date!)

2 comments:

Linda said...

Intriguing, will have to try to find the book. I too am part of the Canadian Book Challenge.

Kate said...

Linda - it is definitely worth looking up!