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All Over Creation book review draft 1

Cathyyy's picture

In the novel "All Over Creation” by Ruth Ozeki, the parent’s relationship with Yumi is different from the relationship in Getting mother’s body. Which the parenting relationship cast different significant impacts on the character’s life and shape them into different identities when they grew up.


Momoko and Lloyd Fuller have farmed potatoes for decades in Idaho, the story begins when their only child, Yumi has got into an abnormal relationship with her ninth-grade history teacher, Elliot Rhodes and got pregnancy, then with company of Cass, her childhood best friend, she went to abort the child. She then ran away at the age of fourteen. She started a life by herself quickly in Hawaii while writing to her parents. Twenty-five years later she returned to her hometown to care for her old and fragile parents, which Lloyd was close to death, suffering from colorectal cancer and having two heart attacks, while her mother Momoko was suffering from Alzheimer's; Her past caught up with her in Liberty Falls, her experiences then helped to shape her into a better mother and also personality herself.


There are lots of conflicts and disparity between the ideologies both in All Over Creation and Getting mother’s body. In the novel All over creation, the nature and culture of the town shaped Yumi’s parents into a conservative personality while Yumi grew up to become a liberal soul, and the difference starts to appear when she went into the affair with Eliot, the words Yumi used to describe her history teacher disgusted Lyold, which he questioned, “What happened to your morals, Yumi?” (22).This is the moment when Yumi’s relationship with her father became strained. Later on, she grew up into a girl who was dare to stand up and look her father into the eye and say, “To celebrate my abortion” (p201). 


Misunderstanding creates gap and hurt both of them, Yumi was hurt by the fact that she has became the “derailed train car” and “grow up all screwy” because she think her parents had screw up her own life. While her father, turns from a man know for his vast acres of land and potato business into a man who has leased his land and lost his daughter, his family, his health. The year of 1975 is the year that Lloyd leases over half his acreage. “That was the year after Yummy ran away. He had a heart attack. His first one.” As suggested in the book. Momoko also impacted seriously by Yumi’s left. At the very beginning of novel, when Cass returned to their house after all those years and Momoko had lost her memories about things, she still remember Yumi and even think she’s still there with her.


Yumi hates her parents like how Billy Beede hates her mother. The kind of language Yummy used in her letters was disrespectful and full of hatred. She wrote, “The shame was yours, and I knew if I stayed, I’d be poisoned by it. I’d grow up all screwy and bent with the weight of your shame. So I left. It was an evacuation, daddy. ” (p37)” I hate you.” (p40)” Dear Lloyd, Fuck you.” (p41)” Well, I haven’t heard from you for a really long time, so here’s the news: whether you like it or not, you have a new grandson. If you want to know his name, you can write and ask me…This is the last one you are going to get.” (p44).


But what makes the difference is that Billy Beede turns into Willa Mae when she grew up and got the same life path or destiny, but Yumi didn’t turns into her parents. Her experience of conflicting with her parents and hurting each other made her realized her mistakes, struck her and also made her want to become a better mother for her own children.



Anne Dalke's picture

You’ve sketched out a possible paper here, one that you can turn into a second draft that develops more fully a comparison between Parks’ novel and Ozeki’s—or (I think more productively?) one that digs more deeply into All Over Creation alone. The working thesis, @ this point, seems to be your last sentence: “Billy Beede turns into Willa Mae when she grew up and got the same life path or destiny, but Yumi didn’t turns into her parents.” The challenge for you, this coming week, will be to turn that description of the difference between the novels into an argument. At this point, the paper is mostly a re-telling of the main plot line of the novel…but what meaning can you make of those details? What sense can you make of the fact that Yumi does not “turn into her parents”?

Heritage seems an important theme in the novel. I’m thinking of Momoko’s carefuly husbanding of her seeds; am also remembering the book by Burbank that Geek reads to Yumi and Ocean in the greenhouse, all about the “heritage of tendencies and inclinations”…Is Yumi’s development a refutation of that claim? What enables her to “turn out differently” than her parents, to “dare to stand up” to her father?

When we have our next conference, I’ll want to check back in re: last week’s missing paper (I’m forgetting if we made a make-up plan?), and also do a little more sentence-level work. Please come to that conference having looked over the last sentence in your first paragraph, and the first sentence in your second paragraph, for possible corrections that may be needed: can you fix these? Also! remember that you’re writing now for the internet—even when in draft form, and should have titles that draw in readers. “book review draft 1” doesn’t quite do it!