Birthday – A Stunning Coming of Age and Love Story LGBTQ+
Where to begin?
There’s a premise.
The publisher’s description of Birthday, by Meredith Russo, does a better job of it than I can.
“Two kids, Morgan and Eric, are bonded for life after being born on the same day at the same time. We meet them once a year on their shared birthday as they grow and change: as Eric figures out who he is and how he fits into the world, and as Morgan makes the difficult choice to live as her true self. Over the years, they will drift apart, come together, fight, make up, and break up—and ultimately, realize how inextricably they are a part of each other.”
“Bonded for life after being born on the same day at the same time” could be corny It’s anything but.
A freak snowstorm strands two sets of parents and their newborns in the hospital for three days. The moms share the same room. One family is wealthy. The other is… not. But they form a friendship that results in a shared birthday party for their sons every year. The families share each others pains and joys.
They share a secret, and they don’t even know it.
As for this book being a record of Morgan and Eric’s birthdays as they get older?
When I first saw that’s what it was, I gave a bit of a sigh, a bit of an eyeroll. It’s a gimmick. I love gimmicks, actually. But this one threatened–in my mind, at least–to be disjointed, not allowing me to really sink into the characters and their lives, being yanked out constantly and fast-forwarding a year.
I could not have been more wrong.
Meredith Russo, the author, explains that coming to terms with being transgender is a process, and by telling the story this way, the reader reads the experience in terms of time as well as experience, both emotional and physical.
This is a powerful story, heart-pinchingly poignant. It is brutal, grueling, painful. It’s genuine, loving, caring.
It’s beautifully written, tenderly expressed, but holds no punches.
It’s a story of families and fighting for survival within them, of self-acceptance.
In other words, it’s a story about the human experience we all share, but also a human experience most of us won’t.
Most of all–
It’s a story of love.
This is an #ownvoices book. Meredith Russo is transgender and grew up in the Southern Appalachia that provides the setting for this book. If you’d prefer to read it as an audiobook [which is what I did] you can find Birthday at audible.com or possibly through Overdrive at your local library.
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