If I Ever Get Out of Hereby Eric Gansworth
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
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.
"[A] funny, poignant young-adult debut." -- Washington Post
"Eric Gansworth fearlessly lays down the truth about what it's like to grow up poor, and the strength it takes to hold your head high and find a way out." -- Laurie Halse Anderson, author of The Impossible Knife of Memory and Forge
* "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.... And although 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
"If I Ever Get Out of Here rings true with a sophisticated look at what it's like to be an outsider and what it takes to be a true friend . More than just engaging, [it] is the sort of book that can spark all kinds of meaningful conversation." -- Los Angeles Times
"Readers will appreciate the teenager's sharp insights into being an outsider and Gansworth's intimate knowledge of the prejudices and injustices inherent to Lewis's life." -- Publishers Weekly
"A heart-healing, mocs-on-the-ground story of music, family and friendship." -- Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize and Rain Is Not My Indian Name
Gr 6–9—In 1970s upstate New York, Lewis Blake inhabits two separate universes: the reservation where he lives in poverty with his mother and uncle, and school, where the fact that he is American Indian (and his sardonic sense of humor) has made him an outcast and a victim of bullying. The seventh grader has begun to accept his status until a new kid shows up in his class. George Haddonfield grew up on air force bases around the world and doesn't seem to know or care about the divisions between the reservation kids and everyone else. Although Lewis and George bond over their shared love of the Beatles, George's friendly overtures to visit are constantly rebuffed by Lewis, who isn't sure if their tentative friendship will be able to withstand the jarring differences between George's home and his own. Can a love of rock and roll overcome all? Lewis's relationships with his mother, his uncle, and even his peers ring true and draw readers deep into his world. Life on the reservation is so vividly depicted that scenes set elsewhere, such as the air force base where George lives, feel a little flatly drawn in comparison. Nonetheless, the overall tenor and wry humor of this novel more than make up for its weaknesses.—Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC
Meet the Author
Eric Gansworth enjoys music ranging from the Beatles to the Decemberists, Pink Floyd to Green Day. He has published nine highly praised books of fiction and poetry for adults, and his artwork has been shown in multiple exhibitions. An enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation, Eric grew up on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in upstate New York. Currently, he is a professor of English and the Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.
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I loved every second pf this book. It kept the pages flipping.
4.5 stars. There was so much to take out of this book and I think the most powerful statement I walked away with, was to be proud of who you are, stand tall because no matter how miserable or shameful you think your life is, there is some good in it. Lewis is a smart kid who lives on an Indian reservation but he goes to a white school so he can take advance classes. Lewis is not well-accepted at the school and it isn’t until later that he discovers that his classmate’s parents had threatened their own children’s behavior, “Dump them off among the wild Indians if they’re bad and they can find their own way home.” I was shocked myself at the behavior and the way Lewis was treated at the school. The brutality and the loose-lips that individuals felt they had the right to throw around and the bullying he was subjected to. How some people can have a blind eye, just so they don’t have to deal with what is right in front of them. They disliked Lewis because of where he came from not because of who he was. One person befriends Lewis at school and this friendship sealed the book for me. I couldn’t decide later if it was how Lewis became a part of George’s whole family or just the boy’s relationship that sealed the deal for me but Lewis had a purpose even though other parts of his day were gray. You could see how Lewis was changing, he was getting a glimpse of life that he had never seen and it was a two-headed sword. As they try to find meaning in song lyrics, they like so many of us are trying to put ourselves on the map where we can belong and connect to others. Their connection was tight and brotherly, what makes everyone so different really?