Books: New Review: Y by Majorie Celona


Marjorie Celona’s Y is the heart-wrenching journey of Shannon, a Canadian girl abandoned at birth. Shannon tells the story of her life as an unwanted child in a rough part of Canada flooded with drugs, abuse and neglect. Yet don’t let the intensity of the subject matter put you off, it is unbelievably moving.

Shannon’s life “begins at the Y”, the YMCA, where she is placed in a grey bundle and afterwards moved from family to family as she seeks the love of a mother, but the damage caused by her abandonment hauntingly follows her wherever she goes. In an attempt to understand how she arrived at this lonely point, Shannon recounts the lives of her parents and grandparents, and it is this backdrop of people she never knew that inevitably shape her life.

There is a tragic beauty in Celona’s writing; her story captivating in its brutal, real representation of life. Unavoidably emotional, her pain and inconsolable sadness are tangible. It is credit to the talent of the writer that you become so attached to her protagonist. Y is gripping in its conclusion as you follow Shannon’s search for the love and compassion every child deserves; an unforgettable read.


Y is available now from Faber

words: Hannah Shearer

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