Saturday, June 18, 2011

How Beautiful the Ordinary Edited by Michael Cart

Oh this is a good one guys!! The first three stories are kinda meh to me...which was upsetting because the first is by David Levithan, but if you read this one KEEP reading!!! They get better and then they just get oh so good!!! These are stories about identity and people struggling and accepting their own identity. Each touches on it's own subject matter. Most of the stories have to do with lgbt themes and the one thing I found more than anything with these stories is that they show how universal certain experiences are regardless of sexuality or gender identification. I think the most perfect example of this and one of my favorite stories in the book was Julie Anne Peters story, First Time. This story shows us the first sexual encounter between two teen girls. And it's so absolutely beautifully written with one half of the page dedicated to one girl's thoughts while the other page gives the others thoughts. What I got more than anything from this story is that that first time is really universal between anyone be it a straight or gay couple. Those feelings of nervousness, excitement, embarassment, etc are there just the same. There are other stories that touch on totally different my favorite story written by Emma Donoghue called Dear Lang. This story just brought tears to my eyes. It's a mom writing to her daughter whom she hasn't seen since the daughter was very young....not even knowing if the daughter will read the letter because her ex-partner no longer allows her to have any contact with their daughter. This story made me think...a LOT. If I'm ever to adopt, I want it to be in a state where I can adopt with my partner. To protect my child. Because as this story shows, there are many states where only one side of a same sex couple can adopt that baby and there's no guarantee that couple will stay together. So the other partner basically has no rights at all as a parent. Interesting stuff here. There are other amazing stories in Francesca Lia Block's look at an online friendship that turns into much more, Jacqueline Woodson's story of a young transgendered boy facing kindergarten where no one understands him, and the collection is wrapped up with a novella by Gregory Maguire that I thought was truly wonderful. This is one that I think should be on EVERY school library shelf. I think these stories do an amazing job at showing how similar we all are despite the subject matter dealing with our differences. Beautiful collection!

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