Friday, April 8, 2016
YA Friday: Unbecoming
Three women from three different generations. After her boyfriend dies from a heart attack, Alzheimer's patient, Mary, comes to live with her estranged daughter, Caroline, and two grandchildren, Katie and Chris, who is disabled. Since Mary abandoned Caroline to be raised by her sister, Pat, Caroline is not at all happy with this arrangement. She is also frustrated with the other aspects of dealing with someone who has Alzheimer's: inability to recognize her, constant running away, refusal to bathe, etc. Katie, on the other hand, enjoys spending time with her grandmother, and helps her create a memory book to help her become less upset.
During the process of creating the memory book, stories from Mary's past are told in small vignettes. Katie discovers many secrets that her mother has not told her about her past, and pushes for more details. Katie is also exploring her own sexuality, and faces bullying at school after kissing a friend. She uses the memory book to express her own feelings along with Mary's memories. The women in this book experience a lot of pain revealing these family secrets. Many false assumptions are made about the other person's intentions and feelings that could have been cleared up with communication.
Regarding the LBGT theme, I have three daughters and this book made me think about how I should react (or not) if they tell me that are not heterosexual:
1) I am not going to cry and act like they have harmed me.
2) I am not going to question them or act as if this is a "phase."
3) I am going to make sure they know that I love them for who they are.
4) I will accept and love whomever they love as long as that person is not abusive.