Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love You Two-- Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli

Pina's mom has always been kindof embarrassing. She's an overly affectionate hippyish mom who dresses too young and (ew) makes out with her dad in public. But Pina and her brother Leo always know they are loved, and share an inside joke with their mom: whenever she leaves Pina and Leo a note, she always signs it "love you t(w)oo".

So when Pina stumbles upon an email from her mom addressed to her father and some other guy with the subject line "love you t(w)oo", she can help but to read it... and then wish that she hadn't. Pina discovers that her mom is polyamorous... and she has a boyfriend in addition to her husband. At first Pina is enraged and defensive of her father, until she realizes not only does he know about her mother's boyfriend, but he supports her!

Although the plot of the book centers around Pina's mother's polyamory, it's really Pina's story. We get all of our information from Pina's perspective, and details about Pina's life that are quite separate from her mother's story. Pina goes on a quest to figure out life and love, and what family really means.

I have to say, I really liked this book. It was a good story, and I am always pleased when a book can take me by surprise. It felt a little heavy-handed at times, but I guess if you didn't already know what polyamory was you would need the information. I struggled a bit with the Aussie slang and all the Italian colloquialisms (the characters are Italian-Australian), but there was a glossary in the back that helped a bit. But overall, I thought it was well-written and unique. It definitely fills a hole in the collection.

One things though... on the back of the book there is a parental guidance label. Although there are definitely some older teen topics in this book (date rape, drinking), there is nothing explicit or gratuitous in this book. Personally, I don't think reading about rainbow families requires parental guidance.


GeoTrix said...

I only really have one criticism of this book: because the author is intent on making her point, the characters often repeat the same information again and again. For Pina, this served as reinforcement, to demonstrate that the first few people who said it weren't crazy. For me as an adult reader, it got a little tiresome. But the plot was compelling enough that I was able to ignore it. An easy and interesting read celebrating the fact that the facade of family rarely reflects the diversity of the real deal. Thanks for blogging about this book. I was glad to be introduced to it!

HydroJen said...

I agree about the repeating... it was kindof like the Babysitter's Club when you just had to skim over the first chapter every time...