Berry Bits · Books

Berry Bits: Lily and Dunkin

Welcome to Berry Bits, where I talk about something I just finished such as a video game, book, anime.

Lily and Dunkin

by Donna Gephart

Type: Book | Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Mental Illness | Books: 1

Sometimes our hearts see things our eyes can’t.

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.

Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.

One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

(Description from


I first heard about about this book from a mental illness related site. Which amuses me because they left out the other character’s struggles with being transgender. I don’t believe it was done on purpose as it was simply recommended reading for those with Bipolar.

There are no chapters the point of views of the main characters switch very frequently. It was quite jarring at first. It took me awhile to get used to the format. Sometimes scenes would repeat, but in a different character’s perspective.

Dunkin was easy to relate to – which is probably obvious considering our common disorder. He is likely Bipolar 1, shown evident by his manic phase. There was a part where he woke up as early at 4am, could not go back to sleep, and got up to practice basketball. There was another moment where Dunkin fell asleep feeling down, but the next morning he had so much energy and felt great. He even said he was fine and didn’t need his medication.

Although not as extreme, I have felt the same before. There are indeed days I go to bed depressed, yet when I wake I feel awesome, I question the need for my medication. I even doubt that I have diagnosed depression and that I’m likely just weak. However, due to being Bipolar 2, this great feeling is often outmatched with irritability.

I get angered at everyone and everything. I hit things. I swear.

It’s odd to be bubbly one moment and suddenly I hate everything.

As for Lily’s portion, she was harder to relate to. Of course, I’m not transgender.

What I did like was learning from her perspective what it’s like to feel like another gender. It helped me understand.

This book was a great learning experience in my opinion. It tackles two stigmatized ideas and puts them out there beautifully.


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