My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer,
by Jennifer Gennari; Houghton Mifflin Books
for Children: New York, 2012; $15.99
My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer is a book about politics and pie. June Farrell is a twelve-year-old girl living in Vermont whose talent is making delicious pies. All she wanted to do over summer vacation was go swimming in Lake Champlain and enter the Champlain Valley Fair Pie Competition. But everything changes when Eva, her mom’s girlfriend, moves in. Under Vermont’s new civil law homosexuals can get married, and June’s mom and Eva plan to do just that. But when people get mad about the law and start boycotting her family’s business, June must save not only the shop but also her family’s rights. And it all starts with baking a pie.
I can relate to June in that sometimes I am different, but it is our differences that make us interesting. My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer is also very political. It talks a lot about homosexual marriage rights. I think that if two people love each other, age, race, or gender shouldn’t matter. It should just be about what the heart wants. I also think that people should mind their own business about this subject. In My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer, people put up signs that say things like, “Take Back Vermont,” “Boycott Gay Businesses,” and “Lesbians Shouldn’t Have Children.” I think that things like that are very, very wrong. It is one thing to disagree with homosexuality in your mind, but to try to get a law passed against it is unthinkable, at least to me. Many people today are uncomfortable with or even afraid of homosexuality. Just like in the book when Eva says, “We won’t keep quiet about homophobia,” I think that people shouldn’t be afraid of homosexuality, and if they are they should talk about it so they aren’t so uncomfortable with it. I think that homosexuals should get the same rights as everyone else, the right to be in the military, the right to get married, and the right to have children.
One part of the book that I particularly like is June’s mom and Eva’s wedding. I liked how they were brave and did what they knew was right, even though some people disagreed. In the wedding, more people came than June thought would come to a homosexual wedding. At the beginning of the book, June feels like she only has one mom. All she cares about is winning the pie contest. At the end of the book she wins first place, but she discovers more important things. She no longer thinks of Eva as uptight. She isn’t embarrassed like she thought she would be when her mom and Eva’s wedding announcement is in the newspaper. She no longer wants a dad because she has a family, and Eva is part of that. Other people change, too. For example, the Costas, their neighbors, were against homosexual marriage at the start, but at the end they come to the wedding, not to protest but because they are happy for Ms. Farrell and Eva. The same thing is true with many other people. I think this proves that people can change and all they need is some hope, inspiration, and mixed-up berry blue pie.