5 “heart shattering” stars
I am usually very chatty in my reviews but I can’t find the right words to describe this book!
I got it in my Illumicrate box and had no idea of the synopsis nor the topic it was built upon. I went in totally blind.
I had no idea who Meredith Russo was either and only researched her after I had finished the book, thinking that the fellings, the doubts, the pain were so real and accurate that it was impossible that the author did not go through something similar!
The plot is pretty easy to describe: two boys, best friends, are born the same day. Their families are very tight and they have been best friends forever.
The story begins on their thirteen birthday and will resume every birthday till they are eighteen.
At thirteen years old, Morgan realizes that he is a girl inside. He wants to be a girl on the outside too. Only …that’s not something you confess easily in a small town in nowhere Tennessee full of narrow minded people.
It does not help either that he has lost his mom and that his father is swimming in grief, doing the best he can to survive and raise Morgan.
It does not help that he has growing feelings for Eric. Nor that Eric, without Morgan’s knowing, also feels attracted to his best friend…
Years after years we follow Morgan and his/her best friend Eric, feeling lost, confused. Becoming nearly strangers before finding their way back to each other when it counts.
Morgan had to find who he was and when he did he could not show it to anyone. He had to live for years, suffocating. Either trying to live as a girl just to hide it again; either embracing his masculinity, wearing it like a mask until everything shattered inside.
Add to his/her suffering the yearly letters left by his deceased mother and to be read at every birthday and I was a sobbing mess most of the time!
This book hit me hard.
I am someone who will empathize with the character, live his life, suffer with him if the author does it right.
Well it is to believed that Meredith Russo is extremely gifted as I walked in Morgan shoes all along, crying inside, raging against the unfairness of the situation.
I read it till the wee hours of the morning and ended up with puffy eyes, a congested nose and not one tissue left, thankful for being more educated and aware of some transgender ordeals and sufferings.
I am no writer.
English is not my mother language.
As I really, really, really want you to read this book, I will use the praise of professionals to convince you. I know this is not my usual modus operandi and maybe you will think it is a little bit too convenient. But as I am rather speechless and can testimony that what they are saying is perfectly true ….
“Rarely have we seen a story like Meredith Russo’s BIRTHDAY…One of the great wonders of Y.A. fiction is its power to create new narratives that replace fear and hatred with empathy and acceptance, and to show young people a path for the future that’s better than what we’ve seen. Russo’s narrative expression of the need to live one’s truth, and the option of choosing love through it all, is a valuable reminder of what really matters.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Birthday is a luminous and profoundly moving coming-of-age story of love, family, friendship, destiny, and the struggle to live as one’s truest self. It will break your heart, piece it back together even stronger, and do it again and again until the last page.”
— Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King
And the one that I could have written 😉 “I couldn’t put this book down. Birthday broke my heart and made me tear up, but it was also so triumphant. This book will save lives.”
— Camryn Garrett, author of Full Disclosure
Have you read it? Would you like to read such book?
Thanks for reading!