The titular Y can relate to at least three elements in the novel. The obvious... short for YWCA, where the baby Shannon was left by her mother shortly after birth. Then, Y is the initial of the mysterious mother Yula, for whom Shannon so desperately searches. And phonetically, WHY?, is the all-encompassing question for Shannon - what happened that made her mother give her up? The story bounces between the lives of Shannon and her mother in an attempt to answer this question. And as Shannon searches we see how she grows into her potential. A hopeful tale of lives lived in places we never hope to find ourselves or the people we love.
Shannon has a lot of whys in her life, but all the whys are what she wants to know. Left infront of the Y(MCA), she has a unique beginning and she finds family in people who are not related to her, but she is thankful for them regardless what is going on with her. Follow Shannon's mother/father's story, as well, as you get to know Shannon with all her faults and quirks as she gets to know herself along the journey.
Easy, fast read --- references throughout to places and various recognizable locations around Victoria make this book thoroughly enjoyable. Not often you get a book that is "so close to home."
A very engaging read.
This book is actually two stories, one of the birth family of this baby girl and how she came to be abandoned, the other the story of the girl over a period of 16-17 years. Both stories are told by the girl, from her perspective. What was especially interesting to me was seeing/living the girl's life from inside her. We don't normally get to see what another person is thinking, especially in situations like this. All of the characters are flawed; however, it is obvious that most of them are doing the best they can in an imperfect world. Thought-provoking and hopeful are words I would use to describe this novel, despite the unbearable things that happen in it.
Anh excellent first book. Despite the fact that Shannon was an abandoned child always looking for her real identity, it reflects how many people live in the same way. And, finally, looking back, realize that their life was good.
Doesn't live up to the hype. Suspect it is so popular due the the many Victoria mentions.
Stunning debut novel on the Giller long list.
Loved this book for the fact that it made me feel both deeply upset and also giggle aloud. What constitutes a family; is it blood or is it something much, much larger? This is a story burning with truth that is so often untold. Fiction with thought.
This story is written in alternating chapters of Shannon's story and her birth mother's story. It takes place on Vancouver Island and is full of references to island life. I enjoyed the Canadian setting. The story is very dark and depressing in many places but it draws you through to the end with the hope of a happier conclusion..
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