Green

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

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 :)
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

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...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

It’s 1992, and twelve-year-old Dave Greenfeld desperately wants to go to private school, but his progressive parents believe in public school so there he is, one of three white kids at his predominantly African American high school. His attempt to fit in through fashion fails miserably when his new clothes are stolen, leaving him to run home in his underwear. He doesn’t even want to mention he is Jewish and adopts the nickname “Green” which gives us the title for Sam Graham-Felsen’s new book.

This is a coming-of-age story that tries to do more, to examine privilege and racism through the prism of Dave’s friendship with Marlon, through this important school year which focuses heavily on...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?

3.5/5 stars!

Every once in a while, I choose or wish for a book on NetGalley solely due to the description and GREEN was one of those books.

12 year old David Greenfeld, aka Green, is nearly the only white boy in Martin Luther King Middle School in the early 90's. As such, he is subject to harassment, and not only because of his color. He's Jewish, even though his family doesn't practice, he doesn't have the right clothes or shoes, and he has few friends.

Marlon, a black teen that lives nearby, comes to Dave's aid when he's bullied and they become fast friends. Bonding over Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, (the curse of Coke!), and playing basketball...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to like this book, but I had a hard time finding the characters credible.   I  am certain the storyline could be quite credible, but I felt a distance from the author.  Things felt  forced.  I enjoyed what the author was portraying, and I think YA readers willful more compelled by the novel than I was.
Was this review helpful?
I feel that the topics dealt with  in Green are very relevant and important..race, bullying, religion, education, family, adolescence.  However, I felt that the language and story felt forced.  I worked with this age group for many years and had a difficult time with the way this story was presented.
Was this review helpful?
DNF--I don't connect with this MC at all, and the whole book is just him whining about how he is the only white kid at a black school and how mean everyone is to him. No thanks
Was this review helpful?
Well done coming of age story that would be an excellent read for the YA market, although I enjoyed it as an adult despite having absolutely nothing in common with these boys. Dave and Mar are not unique characters but Graham-Felssen uses them effectively to explore race and privilege in 1992 Boston.   What's important about this is that it gives us a view that we haven't often seen and it will make you think about how this sort of interaction might have shaped their later actions.  Nicely written and entertaining.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?

This story which takes place in 1992 Boston is narrated by David (“Green”) Greenfield, 12, a new middle school kid at a school which only has two white kids - him and one other. He adjusts by trying to look and sound and act black, much to the amused contempt of the black kids, who alternate between ignoring him and bullying him.

He finally makes a good friend in one of his black classmates, Marlon Wellings, who lives in the projects near Dave’s house. But they each still have problems, and there is a huge chasm between their life circumstances. The author explores these issue as the boys’ friendship is put to the challenge of surviving in the wider society.

Ultimately though, some...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?
This is a coming of age story set in 1992.  It is about two boys who became friends.  One is white and one is black.  Dave who is white meets Marlon at Martin Luther King middle school which is predominantly black.  Dave's hippie parents sent him there because of their strong belief in public school.  The author's use of slang that each generation seems to always have makes the story very realistic.  I don't particularly like the ending but it is a unique book that is definitely worth reading.
Was this review helpful?

I have to start by saying this is outside my norm. That being said, I am glad I read it. We follow Green in the 6th grade at the King, an inner city Boston public school where he is one of two white students. The friendship with Mar, a black fellow student, is central to the story. How does race, "the Force," effect these two boys, their friendship and opportunities. The most striking thing is the language of Green, which is a young Boston kid in the 90s. A true dialect which was both easy to read and rich in character. Again, way out of the norm for me, but Green totally won me over. In the end, it boils down to a coming of age of a boy trying to find his place in the world...

See Full Review
Was this review helpful?