Let’s have a show of hands. How many people out there have read R.J. Palacio’s amazing book, WONDER? Probably most hands went up. That book invited us into the world of Auggie whose outer appearance could be jaw-dropping. But, we were able to read past his skin and find out what it’s like to feel and think and be alive as Auggie. We saw the externalities that might have kept us apart and we learned to look deeper.
We walked the walk with Auggie. We journeyed into his world. In Lily and Dunkin Donna Gephart gives us the invitation to see from the inside how it feels to yearn to be a girl when you’re a boy. She gives us the experience of being at the mercy of your own brain ramping up to the stratosphere and putting the nix on any kind of inner peace.
Lily, “real” name Timothy, is desperately trying to get his parents to get him hormone blocker treatments before it’s too late. Every time he hears the name Tim he feels pain. He’s known forever he is a girl but his body is defined by its boy parts.
Lily’s family has a challenge. Can her mother, her sister, her father be willing to accept that there are two girls in the family instead of “my” girl and “my” boy? If you practice football and wear boys clothes, can you eventually feel natural as a boy? Lily is supported by her best friend, her sister and her mother. Her father and the bullies at school are playing by a different set of rules.
Lily: “I’ve dressed like a boy all the way through seventh grade.”
Dad nods. “That’s right.”
I test the water. “For you.”
Dunkin, real name Norbert Dorfman, and his mother have moved in with his grandmother, Bubbie Bernice, after his father blew all the family money and had to “go away.” Dunkin has left behind his good friend Phineas and all things familiar. Now he’s chugging coffee at Dunkin Donuts and wearing long pants on the ninety degree days to hide his “hairy gorilla legs.”
When Dunkin moves in, he meets Lily and the stories of the two intertwine in the neighborhood and at their school, as they struggle to fit in, to belong and to get an understanding and some peace with their own issues.
Told in alternating points of view, we experience Lily and Dunkin from the inside out. So, get ready to walk the school hallways with Lily and get ready to feel the racing mind with Dunkin. These two characters give us the chance to see their “Auggieness” only this time there is some camouflage so we need to look a little deeper to understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
Everyone has a story. Icebergs have tips. Seems as though the real living is being done below the surface. Welcome Lily. Welcome Dunkin. We get you. Let’s roll.
978-0553536744 Ages 10-14 341 pages
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com