A Beautiful Story for Ugly Children Everywhere

I came across Beautiful Music For Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills while shelving one day and picked it up because I liked the title. After reading the blurb I was even more interested in the story. As someone who reads a lot of paranormal or dystopian fiction, a story about a transgenered person is not something I normally read. As someone who works in a book store and is often asked by teachers and librarians for books on some of the more difficult topics I was intrigued. After reading the book I am happy to say that I can highly recommend this one to everyone interested in a wonderfully written story.

From the titles of the chapters to the conversations between characters there is humour and wit. There is agony and despair as well as sweetness and light. The story is smoothly written immersing you in the story immediately. It’s a straight forward look at many of the issues a transgendered person has to deal with. From telling your friends and family, to how others perceive you, bullying and hate crimes to living life as yourself they tackle it all.

Liz has finally told her family that she is a boy trapped in a girl’s body. They haven’t taken it well. Her neighbor and friend John (who is like a grandfather to her) has made it possible for her to do a radio show on KZUK a local community station. John shares her love of music and they love to debate all things musical. At the beginning of the book Liz has not yet told John About Gabe. The truth about who she is. In doing the radio show, it is important to be true to himself and so he does it as Gabe.

During the very first airing he gets a fan. The one fan soon grows into a following and Liz starts living more and more as Gabe. This is not a road filled with sunshine and roses. He has to deal with bullies, his feelings towards girls and towards his best friend since kindergarten, Paige.

This is a story that makes you think about how we treat each other. A story that made me wonder, what makes us think we have the right to judge others let alone why we think we have any say in their lives. It reminded me of a t-shirt I had in my 20’s that said
“I M I
Live and let Live”
I wish we could do that more. That we would remember how it felt when we were teased or left out of things or bullied in what ever way. Though it may not have been as difficult it should make us more aware and considerate and less judgmental of others. We al know what it feels like to be an Ugly Child and should do more to make sure everyone can hear Beautiful Music.

I can not wait to tell others, especially teachers and librarians about this wonderful story. No matter your age I encourage you to read this story and maybe start some open discussion with your friends and loved ones.

I give this book 4 out of 5 reads.


The Joys of What To Expect…. The Movie

First I have to say that I love cheap night night at the movies. Seriously a ticket, combo pack upsized that comes with chocolate all for $18 and change, now that’s a decent price for a night at the movies.

After my weekend of testosterone filled action films I needed something a little lighter. What to Expect When Your Expecting was all I could have hope for and more. A well rounded star studded cast  made us laugh and get a bit teary eyed as we followed them through the joys and horrors of pregnancy and adoption.

The Dudes (a father’s group) that you see in the commercials are hilarious. They also show the fundamental difference between moms and dads parenting styles. One dad is fighting buying the dreaded minivan and the way he gets around it at the end made all those in attendance last night laugh  out loud. Chris Rock is the leader of this Dad’s Group which has a code and rules that must be followed.

There is a couple who have been trying to get pregnant and when it finally happens their joy is over shadowed by his father’s announcement that he (and his much younger wife) are expecting as well. The differences between the two women’s pregnancies are just one small example of how different each women’s pregnancy can be.

The movie is also about relationships. Relationships between couples, parents & kids and friends all get highlighted in this movie. I also enjoyed the way they connected all the characters to each other like in Love Actually or Playing By Heart.  The city of Atlanta made  a beautiful background for the movie and the pop culture references were also a fun touch.

As I really enjoyed this movie I’d have to say  my slump may be over.  Whether you have kids, are planning to have kids, or (like myself) are happy with letting others have the little darlings, I highly recommend W.T.E if you need a good laugh.

I’d give it 4 out of 5 film reels.