7 Books About Love Out of Bounds

Prepare for holiday season with stories that highlight the beauty of families in unexpected forms.

Love Out Of Bonds

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I, Parrot is a riveting, funny, and tragic graphic novel by acclaimed author Deb Olin Unferth with stunning illustrations by artist Elizabeth Haidle. In it, after Daphne loses custody of her son, she is willing to do whatever it takes to get him back―even if it means enlisting the help of the wayward love of her life, a trio of housepainters, a flock of passenger pigeons, a landlady from hell, a super-sized bag of mite-killing powder, and more parrots than she knows what to do with. Authors Deb Olin Unferth and Elizabeth Haidle shared with Read it Forward their favorite stories that highlight the beauty of families in unexpected forms.

We’re approaching that time of year when many of us will soon be looking askance at whatever version of family we have chosen and assembled, and perhaps whisper to ourselves—or yell—“Is this normal? This cannot be normal.” Chances are: it is.

These seven books are a celebration of the spectrum and varieties of love and commitment, a study in how our families lift us up, crush us down, give us our best and worst selves; how they speak our language and share our sense of humor. But these books also broaden our traditional definition of families, emphasizing our responsibility to all living beings.

Featured image: “Coronation Street Party” Photo by Ernst Haas/Getty Images; Author images: Elizabeth Haidle

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DEB OLIN UNFERTH is the author of four books, including Wait Till You See Me Dance and Revolution, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s MagazineThe Paris ReviewGranta, and Tin House. She lives in Austin, Texas. 
ELIZABETH HAIDLE is a freelance artist based in Portland, Oregon. She is the creative director and regular contributor at Illustoria magazine, while writing and illustrating a nonfiction graphic novel series and raising her teenage son.
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