Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Piper's Someday by Ruth Perkinson
Publisher: Spinsters Ink
The statement of purpose on Spinsters Ink's web home page contains this sentence: These are the books that recognize our commonality, celebrate our diversity, and honor our strength in the face of adversity. That description certainly applies to Piper's Someday by Ruth Perkinson, which represents another lesbian novel that departs from the standard formula to tell an engaging story.
Piper Cliff has three holes in her heart, one each for her mother, father and brother. The police report says they were killed in a traffic accident, but Piper knows the truth. God took them because she was mean to some kittens. Piper understands the lessons she received in school about cause and effect and believes that is why she lost her loving family and was left to live with her alcoholic, neglectful grandfather. The one bright constant in her twelve-year-old life is her three-legged dog Someday. Someday is her companion, confidant and the only thing in her fairly dismal life that makes the days bearable. Piper can't wait for the day when she turns 18, can get herself a job as a waitress and have her own apartment to share with Someday.
Things begin to look up for both Piper and Someday when two young women move into the apartment complex and offer their friendship. Jenny and Andrea accept Piper and Someday completely as they are and provide an escape for the child and dog to get away from the grandfather and his sleazy friend Clover. When her grandfather tries to turn Piper against her friends because they are lesbians, all she needs to know is that they love her. As time passes, Piper's home situation becomes more dangerous and she discovers that she has friends she didn't realize existed who are determined to help her. Ultimately, Jenny and Andrea will risk everything to save Piper and Someday when the courts and the state of Virginia are not willing to act in their best interests.
Piper's Someday touches on a number of issues from today's society – child neglect and abuse, discrimination against lesbians and gays and the inability of courts and governments to solve many societal problems properly. Piper shouldn't be perceived as a victim though. She's a tough little kid who has learned to survive in terrible conditions and that she is still open to relationships of any kind speaks to the strength of her personality. Someday may only have three good legs, but she has the courage to come to Piper's rescue at one point and possesses an innate understanding of the child.
Overall, however, the book speaks to the definition of "family" and the reality that a genetic relationship to someone may not make them as much your family as the people who love, protect and nurture you. Piper's Someday is an moving story that will cause you to think while it's entertaining you. It doesn't take long to read, but every moment is worth it.