Very In Pieces
"...What if, for just one day, I didn't want to be me? What if
I decided to be like Ramona and only focus on math the way she focuses
on art? Or like Dru, and come to school with a new look and a new
name and just expect everyone to play along?..."
Very (short for Veronica), protagonist of Megan Frazee
Blackmore's Very in Pieces, is seemingly the most stable, grounded
member of her family. Her grandmother is a poet who is renowned for
flamboyant behavior and sexual liaisons as well as for her writing.
Her mother is a painter who will not let anyone else into her studio.
Little sister, Ramona, seems to inhabit some other world. Very, in
contrast is the honors student mathematician with the steady
boyfriend, the one everyone else counts on how to hold down the fort,
a role she is coming to sometimes resent.
She has a lot to cope with. Her grandmother is dying of
cancer. Ramona is getting in trouble in school. Their mother, who is
spending more and more time lying around drinking, sees this as a sign
of her younger daughter's artistic independence, rather than a need
for help. Their father is missing much of the time, perhaps thinking
of ducking out of his marriage.
One day Very finds about fifty bottle caps glued to her house.
As the days go by more bits of detritus are added to what is obviously
a large scale artwork. The artist remains anonymous. A boy with a
not so good reputation is intriguing Very. She has no clue why. Very
in Pieces is a very insightful portrayal of a young woman struggling
to make sense of a world that seems to be falling apart all around her.
On a personal note, Gay Thanksgiving was amazing. It was held at
UMaine in the Union. It's a tradition caused by the sad fact that not
all LGBT students are warmly welcomed at their families' Thanksgiving
tables. This year it was bigger than ever in a joyous community
celebration. The food was delish. The room rang with conversation
and laughter. At one point a student from Saudi Arabia was telling me
I should get up and dance. I did. Within a few minutes I was
surrounded by dancing people. Yowza!
A great big shout out goes out to our LGBT community and to the folks
who organized this fine event!
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod