“Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wineglass. The question we ask over and over. Why? . . . My life begins at the Y.” So opens Marjorie Celona’s highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. Swaddled in a dirty gray sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife tucked between her feet, little Shannon is discovered by a man who catches only a glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. That morning, all three lives are forever changed.
Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures abuse and neglect until she finally finds stability with Miranda, a kind but no-nonsense single mother with a free-spirited daughter of her own. Yet Shannon defines life on her own terms, refusing to settle down, and never stops longing to uncover her roots—especially the stubborn question of why her mother would abandon her on the day she was born.
Brilliantly and hauntingly interwoven with Shannon’s story is the tale of her mother, Yula, a girl herself who is facing a desperate fate in the hours and days leading up to Shannon’s birth. As past and present converge, Y tells an unforgettable story of identity, inheritance, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Celona’s ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.
Sixteen-year-old Shannon isn't sure if she's a drifter by choice or by necessity; her earliest years were characterized first by her abandonment on the doorstep of the YMCA on Vancouver Island and, as she grew, by a series of foster homes, some truly horrific, others merely neglectful. Even after she's taken in at the age of five by Miranda, a single mom who raises Shannon affectionately alongside her own child, Shannon still longs to belong. Unsettled and propelled by feelings of otherness, she investigates her origins, risking the new, stable connections she's made. Shannon's first-person narration which begins at the moment of her abandonment, intentionally challenging the artifice of narration alternates with chapters focusing on her birth mother, Yula, and on what led Yula to abandon her baby. Shannon's awkwardness and emotional vulnerability make her an easy character to care for, but her physical oddities and sexual experimentation read as transparent attempts at generating conflict. While Shannon's story might offer hope for anyone involved in a nontraditional family, Yula's story is more compelling.
Quite a depressing book
Very dark moody book..