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 subjects…like 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 here…like 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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6 Responses

  1. *sigh* you know how I am with short stories.. just cannot get into them .. I did give it a go for a few out of The Way of Wizards for my last post for OUaT which I should go ahead and post since tomorrow is the last day! (boy that went fast!)
    I see you are reading Peculiar Children.. hope you like it (cha! you always like anything you read lol) I put it on my wish list so good reviews help lol

  2. Oh Chris this sounds marvelous. The whole adoption and gay rights upsets me more than the marriage rights. ‘Course I guess they go hand in hand, huh? I have a close friend and her partner had two children when they got together. HOWEVER the children were two and under. Now they’re in 5th and 4th grade. As you can imagine, they know both woman as their parents. The dad is such a dead beat. He only comes in the picture when it’s easy on him. And then, on top of it, the biological mother’s family is mormon. Strict mormons. They only just acknowledged her partner this past year. Not even being a part of the dilemma, it bothers me that one has no rights if something should happen to the other.

  3. This does sound good, but I am not much for reading short stories that often. I will have to think about it. 🙂

  4. You never emailed us about the last one, did you? If you did, I can’t find it. 😦 But damn, I LOVED the Maguire story! I think it comes in second only to Dear Lang. So yeah, this book was quite a mixed bag. Quite a few stories that I didn’t much like, but then the other half I absolutely loved! And the ones I absolutely loved definitely made the book worthwhile!!! And I loved reading it with you and Annie–so thank you very much! 😀

  5. Deslily, Didn’t OUaT go by so fast?? I can’t believe it’s over either! Sheesh….And I am indeed enjoying Miss Peregrine’s so far 🙂 Very good!

    Christina, Oh you’re so right…it kills me too 😦 If..or I should say WHEN…I choose to adopt, it will definitely be in a state where two men can have a baby. You’re so right..what happens if one parent dies? It gives the other no rights 😦 So sad…

    Kelly, Yes, yes, please think about it 🙂 It’s a wonderful collection!!

    Debs, I never did email y’all about the Maguire story, no 😦 It’s not because I didn’t like it because I absolutely did!!!! I was just having a bad night after I read it and never got back to it. I loved reading this with you two too 😀 Oh! And I wanted to tell you…Losing It is a collection about losing your virginity for young adults..and it sounds really good!!

  6. Oh, Chris, I don’t know whether to hug you and go “Thankyouthankyouthankyou!” at you or whether to go “Curse you for making want to buy more books!” at you. This sounds wonderful! (Also, like just what I’ve been looking for except in short story collection form. My wishlist hates you. <3)

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