Sean made a donation fifteen years ago, and his life since has not gone according to plan. Thirty-five, single, and still grieving the loss of his own mother twenty-seven years ago, he decides to take on the overwhelming task of caring for an unhappy teenager he doesn’t know.
Told entirely through e-mail, instant messaging, journal entries, and other random communications, Donorboy is the comic, compellingly readable novel of how these two people learn to converse, cook, write heavy-metal songs, and nail windows shut on their way to becoming a family. Brendan Halpin has written a universal story of how we laugh, cry, and occasionally punch our way to a new life in the face of tragedy.
We meet Rosalind just after she has lost her moms in a freak accident and has moved in with her sperm-donor father. She didnt know her father before this, never hung out, he wasnt involved in her upbringing. This isnt the story of what its like to have grown up with lesbian parents and no dad, this is the story of what its like to lose two parents but then suddenly have a new one thrust into your life.
The story is told through a lot of emails from Sean, the donor dad, and a lot of journal writing from Rosalind, girl with no moms. Some text messaging, IMs, other written or recorded forms of communication are thrown in, but not so much as to be too annoying (and it can be really annoying to read pages and pages of IMing back and forth). Instead, the voices of the main characters really come through and I really became quite attached to these well-developed whole and round characters. By which I mean that they seem like real people. They have problems, they arent perfect, but they arent awful either and they grow and learn and are generally interesting.
Basically, Rosalind has to deal with both losing her moms and all the grief that that entails and she screws up in school and goes to some parties and is generally a teenager (and not even a crazy one at that). And Sean needs to learn to be a dad to a 15-year-old after having no practice whatsoever.
Its a really touching story without being schmaltzy, and realistic and fairly original. Overall, one of the better books Ive read recently.