Green

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

A middling, wandering novel with no real point or intended audience. I got the sense that Graham-Felsen aspired to writing a newer "Catcher in the Rye" but failed spectacularly. The characters are flat and lifeless, there is no real plot, and I definitely wasn't invested in Dave enough to care about his coming-of-age. 

The one thing that Graham-Felsen does well is capturing the language of a pre-teen urban kid in the 90s. Weird talent, but reading the thoughts of a try-hard, confused white boy desperately trying to fit in by using slang and basketball references was pretty entertaining.
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I found the book difficult to read at times as it reflects a life totally different than the one I had in middle school forty years ago. I found the narrator to be extremely unlikable at times and his choices of people to hang with questionable. This novel reflects a more modern sensibility than its 1992 setting would have the reader believe.
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David Greenfield, a white pre-teen, finds his way through the trials of being a minority in a predominantly African-American school in Boston in the 90s. This is his coming of age story. I am divided about the book. It deals with important issues, such as racism, but I didn’t feel the story did enough with the topic. Much of the time the main character is upset about being one of two white kids in his class, and the bullying he experiences. He begs his Harvard educated parents to transfer him to the private school his brother goes to, but they have chosen to eschew the privilege it represents. I find it hard to sympathize with David. He complains about his lot in life and takes his privilege for granted. The question is, does he mature and recognize his own privilege? This book would work as a good conversation starter about discrimination and privilege, but I didn’t feel it made much of a statement.
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So many of the books I've read or even the experiences I've heard about are stories of a black person (or someone from another marginalized category) living in a white world. This novel was written about the opposite situation. 12-year-old David Greenfield sticks out like a sore thumb at Martin Luther King Middle School. With his blonde hair and blue eyes, he is one of only two white students in the school. This story takes place in the early 90's, around the same time as the Rodney King trial and the riots that shook the country. The message is timely and it has you look at white privilege in a new way. Throughout the book, I couldn't help but think that it was a direct contrast to Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give. Overall, a good read. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

David Greenfeld, or Green as he prefers to be called, is starting 6th grade at Martin Luther King Middle School in 1992 Boston.  He is one of only 2 white students in his class and feels completely out of place.  Eventually, he becomes friends with Marlon, and they bond over their love of the Celtics.  Gradually, however, Green's eyes open to “the force” - the way the world treats him and Marlon differently just because of the color of their skin.

Green and Mar dealt with so many mature issues during their times at school and in the neighborhood, that it was almost startling when they began to behave like kids while hanging out – doing trick basketball plays, watching Celtics games from a fort as a good luck charm, making up their own words for commercials on videotaped games.  In those scenes, it hits hard that these boys aren't even teenagers yet.

This is definitely not the book to pick up if you are looking for a light read.  Green asks the difficult questions, questions that to this day don't have a good answer.  Questions remain unanswered in the book, too, not wrapping everything up into a nice bow so that you can feel good at the end of the story.  This book could open up a lot of dialogue among those who have read it.
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3-3.5 stars overall. Special thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to review this book in exchange for an honest review. Overall I think this was a good story addressing racial issues that arise in society. The main character, Green, is one of 2 Caucasian students in an all African American school. I'm conflicted with this review because I was left wanting more. Don't get me wrong it was a read that kept my attention, but I wanted more from the story and on his friend Marlon's life with more closure to their relationship.
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Green by Sam Graham-Felsen is about a white boy growing up in Boston in the 1990s in a school where he is the minority. The book is aimed at young adults but can be enjoyed by adult readers too, as the book tackles a multitude of issues, including race, racism, religion, sexuality, violence, mental illness, family, friendship, and class, just to name a few. As seen through the eyes of a twelve-year old boy, these issues are shown to have real consequences.

I enjoyed reading Green. It falls outside my reading comfort zone. I don't usually read young adult novels centered on puberty-induced hormonal boys. I found Graham-Felsen's writing to be authentic and really put me in David's shoes, a character growing up in a totally different time and with totally different concerns than I did. 

I did have a few issues with the book, the major one being that I felt the plot meandered towards the end. It just kind of ended and I was left without a sense of closure. I don't expect books to wrap up neatly, but I didn't feel like we had closure on many of the story-lines introduced in the book. I did think it ended at the natural ending point. It just didn't leave me with that jittery just-finished-a-book feeling.

Recommended for readers who want to experience 1990s Boston and who are looking for something that doesn't shy away from hard issues.
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First and lasting thought.  There's way too much ghetto slang for dis aged, kountry, kracker, shorty.  So, imma bounce mah kicks outta tha scene cuz dis shorty jess ain't feelin' it.

That's not to say the book is without merit.  It was aight.

What I liked
The characters were well developed.  There is an equal mix of different races, gender, social status, and religions among this small group who are friends (acquaintances).  I liked that the author wrote a story targeted for middle-school aged BOYS.

The story takes the reader through the lives of this group of 6th graders, the forming of new friendships, coming of age.

What I DON'T like – and it's a deal breaker for me -
The ghetto slang can be forgiven because the target reader is a middle-school aged boy.

BUT

There's too much emphasis on negativity.  Too much violence committed AGAINST this little white boy BY the BLACK kids in the story.  Too much constant fear expressed by the white boy.  Too much RACISM BY the BLACK kids AGAINST the white kid(s).
Muggings, hi-jacking, robbery, fights, knives pulled, drug selling (although none of the 6th graders were the ones selling drugs).

** Racism goes both ways **.

If my son was still in this targeted age group – I would NOT allow him to read this book.

Why would I ever expose my child to that?  Why would I ever let my child think “Oh, that's normal” or “It's OK, that's just the constant fear of black kids that white kids have to expect and live with”.   ?Why?

The answer is – I wouldn't.

The things that happen in this book are NOT OK.  It is hate and racism BY the black kids AGAINST the white kids.  There's too much of that racial hatred in society – and it's NOT coming from white society.

Although the book was well written – I can NOT recommend the book because I would never let my own child read it.  I'm sure it's “real” in any big city, maybe in your part of  the world – but it's not in my small, very rural part of the world.  I don't live in a big city, never seen a ghetto – so I would never introduce that type of life/hate/racism to my child.

I received this ebook free in exchange for my honest review.
I gave it 3 stars because I love the book cover art, along with the things I listed above that I liked about the book.
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OK coming of age story about a young man David who is bullied at school and had other things he is dealing with. Being a minority in his school also adds to his anxiety. Enter Marlon who stands up for Dave in school one day. They become friends and we read about things they encounter for this friendship as well as individualy. The book had good promise but fell short just a tad for me. Overall, an ok read. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the ARC fof this book in return for my honest review.
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Not at all the book I was expecting from Sam Graham-Felsen, journalist and former blog director of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. But an enjoyable and insightful read nonetheless.

“A coming-of-age novel about race, privilege, and the struggle to rise in America …  propelled by an exuberant, unforgettable narrator.”
 
Graham-Felsen’s debut is an original take on both teenage angst and race relations/inequality. Laugh out loud funny with cringeworthy moments. Honest, thought provoking and sad. Lots of feels :)
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Content Warnings: bullying, violence

In 1992, Dave Greenfield is one of the only white students at Boston’s Martin Luther King Middle School. He thinks he’s been given the worst hand in life possible- girls ignore him, guys pick on him, and his parents won’t let him transfer to a private school. His only option is to test into the best public school in the city, but that’s unlikely given his lack of interest in academics.

Dave finds an unexpected friend in Mar Wellings when he shocks everyone and stands up for him in the cafeteria. Mar is a loner from the public housing project in Dave’s gentrifying neighborhood. He’s awkward, gawky, and nerdy- all characteristics that challenge Dave’s stereotypical views about black culture. Before they know it, they’ve formed a strong bond and are letting each other into their private lives that they keep shielded from everyone else at school. As Dave gets closer to Mar, he realizes just how many breaks he’s gotten in life that Mar hasn’t because of the colors of their skin.

I was a bit hesitant going into this book. While the premise really grabbed me, I was nervous about it being a stereotypical book where no actual realizations were made about white privilege. I was pleasantly surprised when Green proved me wrong and wound up being a fresh take on the typical coming-of-age novel, packing a punch with humor, charm, and powerful revelations about race in America.

Graham-Felsen created a lovable, complex narrator in Dave as he stumbles through the confusion and uncertainty of adolescence. We watch him stumble between his world at home with his “hippie,” academic parents and his self-proclaimed “ghetto” school. His friendship with Mar is truly powerful and unique, and added a lot to the novel.

Green is a solid debut that tackles racism and adolescence in a charming way.

3.5 Stars
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I will be surrounded by dudes like this for the rest of my life. White boys and white girls who grew up behind whitewashed fences, who grew up with no idea, for the rest of my life. The force preordained it: Not only will I be surrounded by them, I will become one of them, the thing I hate and can’t escape. Not a white boy or a whitey or a white b*tch, but a white person.

If you’re looking for a way to start your new year out right, Green is absolutely the way to go. Prepare yourself to be transported by a distinctive voice and a story line that screams with authenticity. More than authentic—it was one that mirrored what middle school was like for me in the 90s: the same cliques, the same typecasts, the same social rules. This novel transported me back to those days, back to those vibrations in the air, to that slang on our tongues, to those priorities in our pre-teen minds and to those questions that plagued our thoughts night and day about the world around us and our place in it. 

Picture it (in my Estelle Getty voice): Boston, 1992. 

David Greenfeld is one of the only white sixth graders at Martin Luther King Middle School—the “ghetto” school—with no friends, no cool points, and no chance at getting a girl. His Harvard-educated, politically correct, granola parents don’t understand his pleas to be removed from the school, and there seems to be no end to the social torture in sight. Until. He meets Marlon Wellings, an ultra-smart, Boston Celtics-obsessed, black kid from the projects across the street whose street smarts start to rub off on Dave and who’s life in the hood and drive to get out of it spark questions in Dave’s mind he’s never contemplated before. 

In Green, Sam Graham-Felsen gives us a fresh look at the merging of two cultures, literally painting it is a physical intersection of neighborhoods as well as of cultural mores and rules. I couldn’t help but remember another book I’ve reviewed recently that was also a coming-of-age story with a jumping off point from the ’92 L.A. riots—and all the while, I marveled at how much better this story was told, at how much more the voice and experiences rang true. Graham-Felsen brought these characters to life on the page. He gave them hopes and made them my hopes. He made them fall, and I felt the blow myself. And he made them fail, as we all do in life sometimes. It is in those moments that this novel’s heart is most evident and that its impact slammed into me the hardest.

Through Dave and Marlon, Graham-Felsen explores the color line through the eyes of adolescents still finding themselves amidst the chaos of race relations. What really set this novel apart for me is that he gave us the perspective of the white side of the fence, while still being true to both stories, to both cultures. 

In school the next day, Ms. Ansley shows us another installment of this long, made-for-TV movie we’ve been watching called Roots. When she introduced it, she said we needed to know our history, especially after what happened in L.A…I hear people shifting in their chairs. The violence is one thing: We all know the wounds are just makeup, the whip’s just a prop, the loud crack’s only a sound effect. But the n-word is different. Even if it’s just acting, it’s still the real n-word. I’ve heard it ten thousand times…but always with the soft ending. Hearing it with the hard er …makes my face muscles clench up even thinking about it. All that evil, all that power, packed into two tiny syllables.

Then, we have ‘the force.’

As their school year progresses and confrontations are had, as Dave’s belief in religion is explored and his cross into cultures and upbringings other than his own changes his outlook on his surroundings, he begins to ponder the idea of ‘the force,’ his interpretation of race relations around him. He sees it everywhere. It peppers his every interaction with the world around him, and jolts him out of adolescence and into a more adult mindset:

It seemed like the smoke of those riots spread all across the continent, all the way to Boston, like they were looking for their own Reginald Denny, because as far as I could tell they stepped for no other reason than the fact that I was white. But as I ran away…I began to wonder if maybe I was looking at them the wrong way, the same way I must have stared at the TV screen when those dudes bundled Denny—a shook and boggled look that said, You are predators—and maybe that made them want to treat me like prey. All summer, I tried to deny the force, but I felt it every time I got checked on my way past the Shaw Homes...And I felt ashamed of that…and yeah, I’ve been feeling ashamed that the force has been with me, pretty much nonstop…

Green was an entertaining read and one that provoked thought. There were moments when I laughed out loud and, yes, even a moment when I cried. There’s something for everyone within these pages, because we all know at least one of these characters, from the granola do-gooders to that kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Here’s your chance now to get glimpse into their world. I wouldn’t be saying enough to say that I highly recommend this book for readers of all sizes, colors and creeds who are ready to open their minds and their outlooks. I even recommend it for all ages, because the cultural boundaries explored within Green are real and not to be ignored. The tragedies of everyday life surrounding us are real and not to be downplayed. And the line between the haves and the have nots, the clueless and the culturally aware, the predators and the prey is real and should never, ever be doubted. 4.5 stars. *****
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Published by Random House on January 2, 2018

David Greenfeld, blond and blue-eyed, is starting middle school in Boston, one of only two white kids in his class. His teacher wants her advanced class to move on to Boston Latin for seventh grade, but David sucks at standardized testing and isn’t holding out hope of escaping MLK. To their credit, David’s hippy parents believe in public schools and refuse to send him to a private school. As a consequence, David needs to find a way to deal with his lack of acceptance.

David tries to be cool, in the way that white kids emulate black kids because black kids have style and white kids are nerdish. He speaks the vernacular (you feel me?), but he doesn’t have the right gear (his sneakers are old because his parents won’t buy shoes that are made in sweatshops), he isn’t athletic, and he doesn’t rock the kind of attitude that earns the respect of his peers. His white friend Kev is a baller and fits in easily, but Kev isn’t much of a friend. Eventually David is befriended by a nerdish black kid named Mar, nerdish in ways that are similar to David’s, although their different religious backgrounds are another reason for David to feel that he doesn’t fit in.

One of the novel’s themes involves the various aspects of racism. David and Kev and Mar are all studying to take a test that might get them admitted to Latin School, which might get them admitted to Harvard. But a city council member clues them into the reality that most of them won’t get into Harvard, and even if they do, society’s white power structure will impose obstacles to advancement that white students won’t need to overcome. Mar and David are both subjected to neighborhood bullying and both are subjected to racial slurs. This is a fair and nuanced view of society in which racism goes both ways, and race is often secondary to common interests, like a fan’s love of a particular team. And while the themes of race and class are serious, the broader theme is that kids are kids. Their confusion and anxiety as they try to get a handle on life transcends race and lends itself to easy laughter.

Green would be a coming-of-age novel except that David is too young to come of age. Still, he endures the pain of growing up and earns the kind of wisdom and maturity that characterize coming-of-age novels. The plot isn’t particularly eventful but the story has an authentic feel and it’s easy to relate to David’s unrelenting angst.

RECOMMENDED
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I thought the cover art was fantastic and the "novel of race and privilege" premise was interesting, so I gave Green a chance. It is absolutely a lesson in empathy and Mar's story was a bit thought-provoking. From the beginning, though, I couldn't get over the dialect of the main character, David. The excessive use of "shook" and other terms just wasn't believable from this character, written in this way, and it annoyed me. I continually wished the book wasn't written in his voice but instead was narrated with quotes from him inserted, if it would even be believable or less annoying that way. I also kept waiting for the big twist and the point. It never came, but reading the adventures of Dave and Mar was at least amusing.

*This review is based on a free digital advance copy provided by the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.
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GREEN by Sam Graham-Felsen has been described as an "original voice" and that it is.  Unfortunately, it may be so original that I am not sure if students will relate or not.  To them it will likely seem written for younger students since the protagonist, Dave Greenfeld, is in sixth grade.  He is certainly immature and uses strange slang and ethnic expressions, even for someone living in 1992 Boston. Both his immaturity and language were obstacles to building any empathy for a character who seems overly clueless (although White, trying to fit in at his almost all Black school by spending money his parents don’t have on a “stylish” outfit only ostracizes him further). The book improves when another loner, Marlon Wellings from the nearby projects, eventually befriends Green/Dave and they bond over basketball and their attempts to get into a better school. On balance and despite its exploration of inter-racial friendship, it felt as though GREEN reinforced stereotypes instead of battling and exposing them.  Maybe that "original voice" and the associated humor ("it's not easy being green") are an acquired taste with wider appeal than I suspect?  This title was chosen as an Indie Next Selection and received starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.
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A wonderful book. The author has put tremendous thought behind showing us the way the world works. I genuinely believe that people never grow up. They just become older.  They learn to hide better, and to show only what they want to. Here the author shows us how early people begin to get shaped. How their thoughts and ideas and thier weaknesses make them who they are.
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This book is challenging to review. The perspective was one I didn't really identify with....a 12-year-old white boy from Boston who is navigating life in a middle school where he is one of the only white kids. The slang, the obsession with Celtics basketball, none of it was something I really enjoyed reading about. And yet....the author had something to say about race relations, and maybe it was best he said it from a perspective with which he identifies. I guess it was reasonably well done -- just wasn't a book that I was destined to enjoy. 

I was given an advance copy by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Everyone knows that middle school is the worst. Not only are these kids thrown into a new environment with new teachers and a bunch of new kids, they’re also dealing with the onset of puberty and all those hormones. Into this traumatic situation, Graham-Felsen places his protagonist, David Greenfeld. It is 1992 and David is starting sixth grade at the Martin Luther King Jr. School in Boston. The problem is, not only is David mostly on his own, but he’s also one of the few white kids there, and to make things worse, he’s also half Jewish. Somehow, David becomes friends with Marlon Wellings, a kid who lives in the “projects” and has the same ambitions to get out of King and into “Latin,” the comprehensive school that has more graduates getting into Harvard than any other. 

It was interesting to note that the blurb on the publisher’s website for this book says this book is, “Infectiously funny about the highs and lows of adolescence, ...” Then further down the page I found that Publishers Weekly called this book “subtly humorous.” Okay, so, to start with, funny and humorous are probably the last adjectives I would ever use to describe this book. In fact, not only did I find this book to be extremely serious, this is probably one of the most difficult books to read I’ve ever experienced. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its quirks or lighthearted passages, but there are some very grim messages that Graham-Felsen is highlighting here, which should not be ignored or taken lightly.

To explain the part about finding this a difficult book to read, I have two reasons for this. The first is the easy one, and that was the language that Graham-Felsen used here. What made it difficult for me was how much slang and jargon that Graham-Felsen included in the text. In fact, I found it to be so extreme in places, and in many instances found myself at a loss to understand what the author was trying to convey. This had a very jarring effect on the first half of the novel, making it feel like I was watching a home movie, filmed by someone with intermittent Parkinson’s. Just when I thought I was getting into the flow of the text, another slew of slang words would come up to shake that up. I initially found this unnerving, but as the book progressed, it just made me feel old. Ultimately, I did my best to ignore them, and succeeded in that some of the time, but I felt that in general Graham-Felsen over did it with the slang. 

The other difficult thing about this book was the essential message I believe Graham-Felsen was trying to convey here. Aside from the usual problems of being a sixth-grader, one thing that Graham-Felson notes here is what his protagonist calls “the force.” This isn’t a Star Wars reference, per se, but rather that underlying feeling that David gets regarding being white in a mostly non-white environment. Graham-Felsen notes that his protagonist felt this “force” growing ever since the Rodney King/South Central riots that followed the acquittal of the police in the death of Rodney King. What this “force” is, then, is the incursion of racial fear, anger and hatred within both the white and the non-white populations, coupled with increased violence. It is as if Graham-Felsen is trying to point to the Rodney King ruling as the turning point that led to the very divisive atmosphere that the US is living through right now. It doesn’t matter if this theory is right or wrong, because watching David try to work through being at the center of this “force” – both internally and externally – is why this is rightfully called a coming-of-age story. 

The question is, does David succeed? Of course, you’ll have to read the book to find out, and even then, you’ll probably need to decide for yourself, since Graham-Felsen doesn’t hand you the answers on a silver platter, and that’s a good thing. All of this is to say that while this isn’t an easy book to read, and while I didn’t find it at all humorous, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. In fact, one of the cleverest things about this book is how Graham-Felsen uses the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Hornets, and their team colors as a metaphor for racial identity and tensions. This is one reason why I found this a very powerfully effective story, which is highly relevant, particularly for today’s younger audiences, but also for adults. I’m certainly going to recommend it, but the language and style here is the main reason I can’t give it higher than four out of five stars.
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One of the best things about reading is the opportunity books provide you to expand your horizons and learn about new cultures, different experiences, and what it is like for others outside your sociological/economic/gender/race sphere of influence. Sometimes, this is a side benefit of reading a certain novel. At other times, it appears to be the purpose of the book. Sam Graham-Felsen's Green, is more of the latter than the former as it explores growing up as a minority white teenager in a predominantly black neighborhood in 1992 Boston.

When reflecting on Green, I cannot overcome the feeling of discomfort I have after reading it. Some of my discomfort is due to Dave. His adoption of teenage black culture is understandable given how much he does not want to stand out at his new middle school, and yet it makes for some truly uncomfortable scenes. Everything about Dave screams poseur. His choice of vernacular, his choice of dress, and his "preference" for girls of color may help him avoid notice but they do nothing to help make him fit into the school and surrounding neighborhood. In fact, his choices only prove how different he is and make for some truly cringe-worthy scenes.

Dave's character made me think a lot about cultural appropriation. In theory, since Dave is a minority student at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School as one of two white students, his use of the black vernacular and style of dress should not be cultural appropriation. He is not a member of the dominant culture adopting elements of the minority culture. At least on the surface he is not. Yet, I cannot help but think that is exactly what Mr. Graham-Felsen is having Dave do. After all, the story is about the difference in opportunities and justice that race brings. Dave may be a minority student at King, but as a white male in a very white male world he has more opportunities for advancement than anyone else he knows. His adoption of the black culture as a method of survival strikes me as crass because it only seems to highlight the differences and therefore the difference in opportunities between him and everyone else.

Thankfully, the addition of Marlon to Dave's life provides some of the desperately-needed sanity the reader craves. It is Marlon who tries to make Dave embrace his identity through their shared love of the Celtics. Similarly, it is Marlon who drives Dave to success in school. The tragedy of the situation is the fact that every push Marlon gives Dave towards the path to Harvard, his own path grows murkier and steeper - a fact of which everyone but Dave is aware. Even though Dave might attend a black school and live in a black neighborhood, he has no idea what life is like for his fellow students and Marlon most of all. The growing awareness he has that Marlon and he are being forced onto separate paths is painful and awkward and unfortunately all too true.

If Dave got me thinking about cultural appropriation, Marlon's story had me thinking about the appropriateness of a highly educated white man writing a story about a poverty-stricken black teenager living in the Boston projects. Mr. Graham-Felsen is everything Marlon is not in terms of color of skin, opportunities afforded him, and success. His very life ensures he cannot accurately portray Marlon because there is no real way for him to truly understand what it means to not be able to afford private school or summer theater classes and what that might mean for any child's future. This again leads me back to the idea of cultural appropriation, for now we have to remember that Mr. Graham-Felsen is writing Dave as a white man. Dave is nothing but his estimation of how a black teen from 1992 acted and talked. It is not quite like putting on blackface, but I cannot help but feel Green is a lot closer to that than it is to an enlightening story of race and injustice.

I cannot say that Green helped me learn more about the 1990s black culture. After all, it is Mr. Graham-Felsen's own (presumably) researched opinion about black culture and therefore it can never be a true picture of it. Nor did I learn anything new about race and injustice and opportunities from the novel. The ending is all but a foregone conclusion, and the realizations Dave (finally) understands are nothing more than confirmations of things most people already know. The story is a tough one, as is any story in which there is clearly a winner and a loser in the life lottery, and it is always good to remember that others have far more difficult paths to success than you might have had. Still, Dave's utter lack of empathy makes Green a difficult novel to read let alone enjoy. Mr. Graham-Felsen's novel is a great reminder that life is not fair for many reasons, and that is never an easy idea to stomach.
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Maybe it would have helped to have been a boy in order to appreciate this coming of age story. Set in Boston in 1992, this book is about David Greenfeld who is a 6th grader and one of only two white boys in a middle school where he is an uncool outsider with the wrong sneakers. He forms a friendship with Marlon Wellings who lives in the projects in David's neighborhood. David's parents are hippies who made professional decisions unlike those of their Harvard classmates. This is why David wound up in this particular public school.

I liked the relationship between David and Marlon. The book also gave glimpses of important issues like the impact of racial and economic differences.   My favorite scene was a class visit to a city councilman's office.  He went to Harvard with David's parents and gave the students a realistic and necessary lesson about systemic racism. However, I really didn't care for the somewhat whiny and masturbation-obsessed David.  I might have liked Marlon's story more, but he was not the focus of the book.  I wasn't interested in spending time with these boys and their activities.  The constant and repetitive slang became tedious. All in all, while this book wasn't bad I can't say that I really enjoyed the experience. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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