Monday, September 3, 2012

Y - Marjorie Celona - Blog Tour Review

“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.
Synopsis taken from goodreads

Title: Y
Author: Marjorie Celona
Genre: Adult Fiction, General Fiction
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Canada
Publication Date: September 3, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Bronwyn from Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Blog Tour: This review is part of the Penguin blog tour.  
Look for it: Amazon, Chapters, Penguin
My rating: 4/5

Shannon's life hasn't been easy, and she has always wondered why she was left on the doorstep of the YMCA. As she travels from foster home to foster home, she wonders, and resolves to find her birth parents, no matter what the cost. Would life have been better with them, or where she is now? She'll need to find out who her true family is, and "why" everything progressed the way it did and how she may, or may not be better for it. 
There are no easy answers when it comes to foster care, and particularly Shannon's fate in the system. Bouncing around from home to home left Shannon bereft of family, and left her longing for more than she had. She wanted to belong somewhere, and looking for her parents and finding out why they gave her up is her starting point. Her story is a sad one, as is their story. Her voice is mature as she reveals her early years to the reader. One can't help the emotions she stirs up in them as she reveals some of her most personal hardships. Why was she left, could she have been left accidentally. Her story pulls at the reader's heartstrings as they instinctively want to shield her from the world around her. 
The bad choices and events that transpire before Shannon is left on the doorstep also leave the reader to understand why her parents made the choice to abandon her. One cannot know the circumstances that arise in any given family, but Shannon's parents, and her story is a powerful one, and maybe there could be some absolution. Shannon just needs to find her parents, to see them, and find out why. 
Y is aptly named as we follow Shannon's struggle with identity, and why this life is the one she must lead. Celona has created a powerful debut, one of hardship, longing, and the meaning of family. She weaves together both Shannon's story, and her parents story skillfully, leaving the reader wanting to know more, and letting them also question why.