Saturday, November 15, 2008

ghosts of christmas present

I think everyone should give books this holiday season, so for a second I had this idea that I would present a series, recommending what type of people to whom you could give all the books I read between now and Christmas.

Then I realized that will probably be like three books.

Nevertheless, for the ghostbusters and gender benders in your family, I recommend Jennifer Finney Boylan's I'm Looking Through You, a memoir of "growing up haunted." Boylan, who transitioned to female in 2000, spent the latter part of her childhood in a crazy, creaky 200-year-old mansion in Pennsylvania. Strange noises and full-on apparitions were as much a part of her daily life as the nagging feeling that she--then he--was supposed to be a girl.

Flashing back and forth between decades, Boylan drives home the message that you can be haunted by literal ghosts and metaphorical ones, ghosts of the past and--to her surprise--ghosts of one's future self.

Such themes are right up my literary alley, and I devoured this book in just a few days. It's also hilarious. Boylan has a wry sense of humor and a wacky family as good source material (for example, the grandma who loves to get drunk and talk about the night Boylan's father was conceived). Sometimes its lightness felt like a disservice to the book, though. I like my haunted houses just a little more spooky.

Nevertheless, with more than one quote from A Christmas Carol adorning its bookishly haunted pages, it would make a great gift.


Peter Varvel said...

This sounds too fascinating to pass up. Thanks for the recommendation!

Cheryl said...

It's quick and fun and sometimes sad. It's the kind of book I'd recommend to people who don't read much as well as big old bookworms.

Jesi said...

i've decided to get my 15 year old niece, who loves to read, these books:
Catcher in the Rye
Diary of Anne Frank

Cheryl said...

Perfect--so much wonderful angst!