Thursday, April 5, 2012
Review: My Name is Not Easy
My Name is Not Easy
by Debby Dahl Edwardson
My name is not easy. My name is hard like ocean ice grinding the shore . . . Luke knows his Iñupiaq name is full of sounds white people can’t say. So he leaves it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles away from their Arctic village. At Sacred Heart School, students—Eskimo, Indian, White—line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there’s some kind of war going on. Here, speaking Iñupiaq—or any native language—is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey. Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. But he’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader— if he doesn’t self-destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small, quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. They each have their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School—and the wider world—will never be the same.
There were parts of this book I really enjoyed. I thought the characters were well drawn and I learned a lot about Alaskan culture during the Cold War. I had no idea that Eskimos and other native tribes were all thrown together in schools far from their own homes.
I did feel, though, like this book was disjointed and so I had trouble sticking with it. There were a lot of major, important events that happened to the kids in this book and they happened over several years...but I couldn't really keep track of the time that was passing in the book. It just didn't quite work for me.