Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Humour, Contemporary
I am sitting here just staring at the ceiling, I still can’t believe that this book packed such a punch. My sister just walked into the room and asked me what’s wrong and I threw the book at her…
“If you let people into your life a little bit, they can be pretty damn amazing.”
I don’t know if I will manage to convince anyone to at least attempt to pick this up, but I will give it my best.
The story is told from The First person by Junior, a 14-Year-Old Spokane Indian boy born with a variety of medical problems in a poverty ridden reservation that is heavily looked down upon by the fellow white men. And all hope for him to make it out and make something of himself doesn’t seem very possible. He then decides to take his hope back and fight for his future by drawing funny illustrations of his life experiences and going in an all-white farm school that will pose a challenge and some interesting surprises while facing major condemnation from his fellow Indians for going to the white school.
“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That’s right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that’s kind of perverted or maybe it’s just romantic and highly intelligent.”
This book opened my eyes and rid me of my ignorance in a very clever and funny way. I was so impressed by how he made me laugh at some very serious topics and I would still feel uncomfortable but in a good way (
If that makes any Goddamn sense) he wasn’t afraid to tackle some social issues head on & incorporate humour effectively. You could see some aspects of Sherman in Junior and it was delightful to see all this through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy which is usually annoying. The naivety was executed so well, unlike Extremely Loud and Incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer where the 9-year-old main character’s voice was unbelievable for his age, this one felt genuinely real and because it was sort of written like a memoir it felt a lot more personal. I was angry at some prejudice, I cried at some bits and I laughed out loud at the dialogue. That just proves how connected I was especially for a Young Adult book. The main character was everything, I can still hear his voice and his funny personality jumping out of the pages. The illustrations by Ellen Forney elevated the book to a whole other level. Seriously, they were funny & interesting e.g.
Funny Stuff xD
“If you’re good at it, and you love it, and it helps you navigate the river of the world, then it can’t be wrong.”
Themes surrounding racism, abuse, hopelessness and struggle play out & some sections will literally twist your inside making you question what it is to be human. But the simplicity and comic relief of the book soften the punch of the book. In a way, I related to the main character, some aspects of his life really struck a cord. As a kid, I fought so hard to stand for my dreams and future by telling everyone that I would get out and grab the world by the balls and run with it. I would tell everyone what future I painted but as I grew up reality struck and I sort of fell into the same lifeless routine that kind of shrunk my dreams but I still had that little spark inside -that flame of hope- that I protected from the wind of reality. Junior never gave up and when he decided to be the first Indian to go to an all-white school for a better opportunity than the one provided back to his community, it was so brave and impactful that I was happy to see it told in a YA book. Poverty, Opportunity, Racial Segregation, Hope, Acceptance, Growth and so much more this book should be on everyone’s bookshelf.
If you have any recommendations for YA books that feature any Red Indian Character or Explore the culture or just any diverse YA books feel free to tell me:0 I feel like I need quality Young Adult fiction in my life.
Thanks for Reading 🙂
So until next time stay Bookish 😉