If I Ever Get Out of Here

If I Ever Get Out of Here

Book - 2013
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Seventh-grader Lewis "Shoe" Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and whites--and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.
Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780545417303
0545417309
Branch Call Number: J FICTION GANSWORTH
Characteristics: 359 p

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Cheryl_JHL Oct 19, 2017

(paraphrased from my Goodreads review):

I really enjoyed the main character and his perspective, and there is a lot of information casually rolled into this book - insight into life on a modern (well, 1970's) reservation, poverty, Native American history, and law in reference to Native Americans.

There's a bit of a flavor of Sherman Alexie in the style and tone (sarcastic/dry, blunt humor), though I feel this is less gritty/harsh. The ignorance and willful blindness of some characters reminds me of Gennifer Choldenko's JF title,"Al Capone Does My Shirts."

With that in mind, I'd say it's a great YA step up (age 15+ perhaps) from Al Capone - a story about getting under the surface of prejudices and stereotypes and building trust in friendships.

As others have mentioned, living in poverty and the emotional/psychological impact is also pretty strong theme. Lewis and his family live on welfare, survive in a battered house that has no working plumbing, and he continually lies to avoid having his friend over out of embarrassment.

I loved that Lewis was outspoken in sticking up for himself and declaring for justice, refusing to be snowed by the BS thrown his way. I loved some of his insight and observations about friendships and life.

I enjoyed all the music references - those who love the Beatles & Paul McCartney will find much to appreciate in the book. The boys are avid audiophiles and buying albums as they can afford it and as they come out. Each chapter title is song related and there's quite a few song references.

CRRL_CraigGraziano Jul 16, 2015

Does a solid job at depicting a male friendship over the course of two years. It also offers a nice portrayal of military families and how tough it can be to have to move around so much.

Read more at: http://www.librarypoint.org/if_i_ever_get_out_of_here_gansworth

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