Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review: Call Me by My Name by John Ed Bradley

From former football star and bestselling author John Ed Bradley comes a searing look at love, life, and football in the face of racial adversity. Heartbreaking says Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak.

Growing up in Louisiana in the late 1960s, Tater Henry has experienced a lot of prejudice. His town is slow to desegregate and slower still to leave behind deep-seated prejudice.

Despite the town's sensibilities, Rodney Boulett and his twin sister Angie befriend Tater, and as their friendship grows stronger, Tater and Rodney become an unstoppable force on the football field. That is, until Rodney sees Tater and Angie growing closer, too, and Rodney's world is turned upside down. Teammates, best friends Rodney's world is threatened by a hate he did not know was inside of him.

As the town learns to accept notions like a black quarterback, some changes may be too difficult to accept

Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 6 2014.

I will start by saying that it appears this story is marketed for the YA audience however I feel that this is a story that has appeal to a much greater audience.  I am someone who is beyond the YA age yet I found this story beautiful and haunting to an extent and I feel that there is success for this story in the adult audience as well.

This is a coming of age/love story that takes place during the 1960's when there was still a racial divide in the south.  Centralizing around sport, mainly football, it tells the story of best friends whose only difference is the colour of their skin.  Add in a twin sister who both boys love and it results in a wonderfully tragic story.

While I am not a fan of football, I detest the sport, I was glued to the games described within the pages of this story.  I could visualize the games and feel the excitement in the air for each game.  I say this as you do not need to be a fan of the sport to enjoy this book. 

It was Taters story that won me over in this story.  His journey as he tried to succeed in a white dominated society had me from the start.  The way he overcame the hurdles placed in front of him was inspirational.  Bradley clearly created a character that you were cheering for.  Although I could find no evidence to support it makes me wonder if there could be some truth behind this story and character, if he was based on a real person from his past. 

This story made me think.  Highschool is supposed to be your glory days and in many ways this story shows that.  I also shows that events from your youth can mold you in to the adult you become and how certain people have a way of leaving a mark on you forever.  I predicted the outcome of this story and in no way did it change the impact of it.

I would recommend this story to any reader who enjoys a good heartbreaking story that take place during a significant part of our history.  Thank you Bradley for making football a little more enjoyable for me.

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