Monday, February 8, 2010

How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity edited by Michael Cart YP FIC HOW

How Beautiful the Ordinary is a collection of twelve stories about struggles of identity for gay, lesbian and transgender teens. It is told through a variety of formats including comics, poem, and short stories. The title refers to how the struggles and problems gay, lesbian, and transgender teens go through are very similar to problems everyone experiences. These stories show that the ordinary truly is beautiful and far more complicated than we think.

This is a really strong collection of stories from some of the best Young Adult writers. All the stories deal with coming to terms with identity and issues such as love, sex, guilt, and fear. The themes of these stories are universal and can be understood by all teens or any former teens. My favorite were Dear Lang and My Life as a Dog. Dear Lang is in the form of a letter from a mother that has had her daughter hidden from her for 14 years and is legally powerless to do anything about. My Life as a Dog is about a young man named Noah in a coma imagining his life as a dog’s. It is cleverly told through the main character’s view as a dog alternated by little scenes in the format of a script in Noah’s hospital room. All the stories show a different facet of life and different perspectives. This is a good read for just about anyone that likes stories about teens learning about themselves regardless of the reader's gender or orientation.

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