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Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual...
Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan's side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis's home -- will he still be his friend?
Acclaimed adult author Eric Gansworth makes his YA debut with this wry and powerful novel about friendship, memory, and the joy of rock 'n' roll.
"Eric Gansworth has been an indefatigable chronicler of the infinite lives of Upstate New York's Indian communities, but with MENDING SKINS he has produced a small masterpiece..." -- Junot Diaz on MENDING SKINS
"These poems are stirring, down-to-earth, and of course funny." -- Louise Erdrich on A HALF-LIFE OF CARDIOPULMONARY FUNCTION
"I cannot think of another novel I've read in the last few years that has been more true to contemporary Indian life, richer and more satisfying." -- Joseph Bruchac on SMOKE DANCING
"Lewis Blake is bright and scrawny and the only kid from the Tuscarora reservation tracked with the brainiacs at their county junior high in upstate New York. For the duration of sixth grade he was invisible, but when burly, polite George Haddonfield arrives on the Air Force base and shows up in their seventh grade class, Lewis might have found a friend. The boys bond over girls and music (the Beatles, Paul McCartney and Wings, and Queen—it is the 70s, after all), slowly letting their guards down, but when a vicious, well-connected bully sets his sights on Lewis, their friendship is sorely tested. Gansworth, himself an enrolled member of the Onondaga nation, explores the boys’ organic relationship with generosity and tenderness and unflinching clarity, sidestepping stereotypes to offer two genuine characters navigating the unlikely intersection of two fully-realized worlds. All of the supporting characters, especially the adults, from Lewis’s beleaguered mother and iconoclastic uncle, to George’s upright father and delicate German mother, and a host of teachers and administrators who look right past the daily violence perpetrated on Lewis, are carefully, beautifully drawn. And while Gansworth manages the weighty themes of racism and poverty with nuance and finesse, at its heart this is a rare and freehearted portrait of true friendship." - Booklist starred review
Posted August 15, 2013