Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review of V.L Brunskill's Waving Backwards

V.L Brunskill author Waving Backwards paints an all too familiar picture of the female protagonist's life. The Bible is important for the story as well as the protagonist since it is through the Bible that she discovers small details of her own identity. The familiar elements were the fact that Laura Bonavito was an adoptee, struggling with coming to terms with who she really is. Like many adoptees she had questions about who her birth parents were. I identify with that part having had those feelings and thoughts myself once.


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American readers or those familiar with Savannah Georgia might be able to understand that the title has several meanings, one that is clue to where the novel is set. The intriguing title is a reference to the Waving Girl statue in Savannah, Georgia on the East River Street as a tribute to the legend of an actual waving girl ,Florence Martus 1868-1943. This immediately gets me to think of an American classic namely Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell. The heroine in Mitchell’s novel also goes through a similar challenge like Laura. I also start see link’s to L.M Montgomery’s fictional Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley and Miss Bonavito both desperately wants to find out who their birth parents were. That is fine but reality is some adoptees actually never want to find their birth parents for several different reasons. 

 It should be every adoptee’s birth right to know who their birthparents are (but only if they want to know it themselves), sadly that is very often not the case. The book was difficult for me to read since every adoptee must be prepared to make a choice between knowing the truth or getting the answer’s that they want. Not every adoptee is emotionally ready for the truth.

The author makes me wish that the protagonist gets to find out who her birth parents are. As the story continues I want Laura Bonavito to get the answers that she seeks. That seems to be the first lesson the author wants readers to know. As she continues with her journey Miss Bonavito grows as a person. You are stronger than you realize.

 For potential readers that is able to finish the novel I think they will appreciate how authentic it may seem. Just like actual life it is a novel that mimics reality and not the other way around. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. I think this novel will pull at the heart strings of adult adoptees and people that are affected by adoption. I want to recommend it but I think that some adoptees that read it may struggle with it since it basically presents likely worst-case scenarios some readers might not be willing to confront in their own life.

Once you know you and have the answers you very well might realize it isn't the answer that you wished for. So is it better to live in obliviousness or would you prefer to know the truth whatever it may be... By not searching adoptees are able to create their own picture of who their birth parents may be... Sometimes maybe that is better than actually knowing, because knowing the truth might be detrimental to your self-esteem and only further create more questions, questions that most likely never will be answered.


If you still feel in intrigued enough to read V.L Brunskill's bild├╝ngsroman, if not only to get your opinion of it. Then I think readers will appreciate the poignant message, the author's voice and the chosen environment. The minor characters are eloquently presented and each of them have a purpose in the protagnist's life and helps to bring the story forward. 


The message of Waving Backwards seems to be that you must know your past before you can know who really are and create a future from there.  The other message the author successfully conveys is that it could be you. It should be every person’s right to know, but we always have a choice. In this case the choice is to search or not to search for your birth parents. 


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