Lily and Dunkin
"Lily and Dunkin is a delight. Here’s a book for anyone who’s ever struggled with being different--or anyone who’s ever loved someone who bears the burden of difference. Donna Gephart’s book is about trans children, and bipolar children, and their parents, of course, but what it’s really about is friendship, and the redeeming power of love. Crucial, heart-breaking, and inspiring.” —Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There, and Stuck in the Middle with You.
Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.
Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.
One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.
What worked: I loved this something fierce! Lily's struggles to be true to who she is are at times heart-wrenching(the scenes where the mean boys gang up on her are very painful). I loved Lily. Readers get a glimpse of how hard it is to be true to yourself when others around you are ignorant. I liked how some in her family-like her sister and mother-are more accepting. Lily's journey isn't all happily-ever-after but shows the roadblocks she encounters not only at her middle school but in her family as well.
Dunkin is the new kid in town with his own secret. Dunkin is bipolar. Gephart nails the daily battles someone who has bipolar disorder goes through. The highs that are very seductive to the lows. I know. I grew up with a bipolar father and half-brother. Dunkin's descriptions of not wanting to take his meds as they slowed him down, rang very true.
The big thing I loved about this book is how it doesn't sugar coat these issues but addresses them in such a way that hopefully will have others not be afraid. I'm a firm believer that the way to overcome the painful stigma of bipolar disorder is to talk about it. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
The other huge plus of this book has to be Lily. It's basically her journey. I feel this story is important to tell especially with all the stereotypes and misinformation that continue to be out there. Information is power.
Heart-wrenching, inspiring tale of two friends who overcome social prejudices with a dash of hope. Highly recommended. Also a great book club selection!