“Becoming Julia” is a beautifully written memoir by Clara B. She begins with memories of her Bapa’s “snow-white beard” from when she was younger, describing his kindness, wisdom, and amazing ability to bake pies. However, as she grows older, Bapa falls ill and she no longer recognizes him as the Bapa she used to know. At the end of the story, Bapa is extremely sick and begins calling Clara, Julia. Clara becomes Julia, and “Julia” becomes part of Clara. Julia gives her the strength and courage to live on, as her Bapa’s life slowly begins to fade away.
“She constantly shapes me into someone who can cope with suffering calmly and with indestructible hope: I am no longer fragile and ignorant of pain.” Clara uses vivid imagery to describe each memory about Bapa. She recounts the good memories: “Bapa shows me how to make pies so gracefully that not a single white hair gets caught in the dough, dough that smells like the breath of God;” and the bad memories: “He reeks of regurgitated Jell-O, his jaw crooked and glued to his lolling tongue…” Clara makes us feel how she felt–whether nostalgic, disgusted, or empty–through it all.