Lily And Duncan
"Thinking about my plan for the first day of eighth grade makes
my stomach drop, like I plunged over the crest of a roller coaster at
Universal Studios. I'm sure not one other person going to Gator Lake
Middle is dealing with what I am, probably not one other person in the
entire state of Florida. Statistically, I know that's not true,
because I looked up a lot of information on the Internet, but it feels
that way sometimes."
Lily is a girl who was unfortunately born into a boy's body.
She envies her sister's freedom to wear dresses any time she wants.
She dearly wants to do so on the first day of school. There are,
however, mean kids in school who already bully her. And her father is
dead set against it.
"'Goddamn it, Timothy!' Dad turns, his face filled with fury and
something else. Pain? 'Your mother gave birth to a boy. We had a
boy. What am I supposed to do? Just let go of that? Am I supposed
to let him die?"
Lily (who despises her birth name, Timothy) is desperate to
start using hormone blockers. She dreads the changes that puberty
will bring such as a deeper voice and facial hair. But she can't get
her father to even discuss the idea.
"If you think about it--and I have--there are at least six ways
to die in South Florida: being eaten by an alligator, poisonous
snakebite (there are six varieties of poisonous snakes in Florida),
lightning strike (South Florida is the lightning-strike capital of the
United States), hurricane, flood, even fire-ant bites, if there are
enough of them.
I wish we hadn't moved to South Florida. There are too many
ways to die here."
Dunkin (legally Norbert, a name he despises) has moved with his
mother from New Jersey to live with his grandmother. His mother is
really sad; he wants her to snap out of it. He misses his father who
is bipolar and presumably in a psychiatric hospital. Dunkin himself
has to take mood stabilizers and antipsychotic meds. He feels
overburdened with secrets--facets of himself he fears will turn
potential friends away.
Just as school is about to start Lily and Dunkin meet and begin
a fumbling friendship. Donna Gephart's Lily And Dubkin, told in their
alternating voices, gives a sensitive look at vulnerable young people
having to cope with pretty heavy challenges in a not always hospitable
Gephart hopes that her book will lead to more understanding and
acceptance of people like Lily and Dunkin. Her own son was diagnosed
with bipolar disorder. He had to struggle with things that other kids
achieved easily. As a teacher, she was aware of the difficult
challenges transgender students face.
Personally I would recommend Lily and Duncan to all people who,
like me, are members of the human race.
On a personal note, as I write this, just about all of Maine is being
blasted by a blizzard. Snow is whipping around. We're expecting to
end up with two feet. Accumulations are already quite impressive. I
just hope we don't lose the power before I get two cakes and a batch
of cookies baked for tomorrow.
A great big shout out goes out to my husband and his peers who are
plowing around the clock, the utilities workers on call in case of an
outage, my son and all the other emergency workers willing to put
their safety on the line to rescue others, UMaine for cancelling
classes, and all the people smart enough to stay home and leave the
streets to the professionals.
Sent from my iPod