The Way It Is

The Way It Is

by Donelda Reid

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Overview

It’s the 1960s – the time for equal rights, peace, and love. But for Ellen Manery, it’s the time to work hard and finish high school early. She’d rather be helping out at the university’s medical lab than listening to rock and roll and hanging out with the kids at her high school. Isolated and driven, Ellen feels like she was born an outsider. And what if you live in a small town, where change is slow in coming? Tony Paul knows what it’s like to be on the outside. Living on an Indian reserve near a small town, he goes to the local high school, but his heritage and the color of his skin stand him apart. Ellen and Tony meet when Ellen’s parents decide to leave city life behind and move to the town. Right away, they are drawn to each other’s difference. Used to being on their own in high school, together they find a happiness and strength that allow them to face the sexism and prejudice around them. But can Ellen and Tony be more than friends? Are they right to think that a girl can study science and become a doctor, and that an Indian boy can go to college? Together they’ll find out.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781926920238
Publisher: Second Story Press
Publication date: 10/01/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 264
File size: 327 KB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Donalda Reid, a retired elementary school principal, spends her time traveling the world, writing, drawing, and painting. Profits from the sale of her memoir Captive, A Survival Story, the story of her experience being captured by Hutu rebels in the Congo in 1998, help support African Grandmothers affected by HIV/AIDS through the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

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The Way It Is 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
terriko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think the thing I loved most about this book is that although Ellen is shy, that doesn't mean she's a pushover: she shows a lot of agency and willingness to stand up for herself and others when she needs to, even if she's terrified about getting on the school bus for the first time. She is in a lot of ways a much richer character than any description of this book would make her sound, and I really enjoyed watching her grow throughout this novel.
ZareksMom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reid has written a fantastic story about racism in the 1960s.Ellen is the new kid in Salmon Arm, a small Canadian town. She's intelligent and driven, but has exactly 0 friends. Tony is the only Indian kid in school, riding the bus from the reserve every day to get a good education. Over their senior year of high school, they develop a tentative friendship borne from being outsiders.I really enjoyed it! Ellen, despite all her genius, is essentially naive when it comes to racism in the real world, as most of us who grew up as white suburbanites are. Tony has been the target of it so many times that he expects to be smacked down at every turn. I didn't live through the 60s, so I can't say for sure, but it seems like a pretty realistic view of the treatment of Canadian Indians.
allureofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Doesn't the summary of this book sound awesome? I sure thought it did. I was beyond excited to pick this book up - I was so sure I'd love it.Well, I'm not sure what the best way to say this is without being mean...but I really wish those characters and that plot had awoken in the head of a more seasoned writer. I feel like the way the story was handled absolutely ruined it. As engaging as it should have been...I never felt connected to anything. I really wanted to be! It just seems like the characters never had established personalities and the plot never felt fluid. I was so disappointed.The way Indians were treated in the past is a serious issue, and one that I love seeing written about when it is done right. The struggle between the Indians and the other townspeople in this story never took shape in a real way. There were a few instances of tension...but no real fight or resolution. I was very let down by that especially.Ellen and Tony seemed very interesting to me in the beginning, but throughout the book their personalities never seemed to cement. They would both constantly do things that I didn't think fit the character that the author was trying to establish (especially one scene where Tony acted in a way I didn't think appropriate to his previous personality at all). Those constant contradictions kept me from being as invested in the characters as I would have liked to be.Overall, I'm not sorry I picked up the book. I'm just sorry it wasn't written more clearly and didn't meet the expectations I had for it!
jenreidreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a very sweet coming-of-age novel. The twist here is that it's set in Canada during the late 60s. Ellen is VERY shy. She feels like an outsider, and doesn't know how to make friends, preferring to stick to her schoolwork, at which she excels. Ellen wants to go into medical research, an uncommon career for girls at that time. Life is already difficult, and then her parents decide to move to and operate a resort in the country. There, Ellen experiences prejudice for the first time, against the Indians (that's how they're referred to in the book - Native Canadians?). At school, she meets a fellow outsider, Tony, an Indian, and makes her first friend. There isn't much to the novel besides Ellen experiencing love and loss, and growing as a person. But Donalda Reid writes Ellen's character well. We all remember how it felt to be a teenager, the pangs of first love, trying to fit in, to find yourself. Reid captures these emotions in Ellen. She's very quirky - I, for one, could not relate to her fascination in carving a dead deer in the woods - but that keeps her unique and interesting. Recommended in particular for teenage girls; this was a lovely YA novel.
Euphoria13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't you just hate it when you read a book and you can't get into it? And then you hope that it'll get better but sadly, it never does? That is my case with The Way It Is. Ellen Manery is different from most girls. She worries about her grades (even though their perfect) and she is determined to be a medical research doctor. It's the 1960's and girls are not expected to accomplish much in the world, let alone take complex science and math courses in High School. Ellen's parents are tired of the their work cycle, they feel that they have lost themselves during their years of working. As a way to break free, they decide to quit their jobs and buy a resort in Salmon Arm, which forces Ellen to move from Vancouver. She immediately hates the new environment. She's lonely and stands out from the rest of the girls at her new High School, who are dressed in bright colored mini skirts and wear makeup, while she's dressed plainly. She then meets Tony, the only Indian boy at school. Ellen and Tony develop a friendship in which Ellen soon finds herself developing deep feelings for Tony. Due to the decade that they are living in, their relationship wouldn't be considered "right". The pacing was very, very slow. I thought that I would never finish this book, I really disliked how much it dragged. Had the story been executed differently, I believe it would have resulted in a good story. The premise is great for a Young Adult book but not the writing. Ellen and Tony weren't great characters either. They seemed flat when they should have had more depth. Now I know I should sympathize with Ellen because she's a loner, but I honestly found her a bit annoying. In short, this book was just not my cup of tea.
jackiewark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ellen, a brilliant 15 year-old, about to turn 16, is focused and determined to reach her dream of being a medical research doctor. She has been taking accelerated courses in Vancouver... when all at once her world is rocked. Her parents inform her that they are moving to a resort town near an Indian reserve. Ellen is mortified and beside herself that she is leaving the school where her intellect and studies flourish. Once there, however, she meets and befriends Tony, and Indian who is a loner like herself. They become friends and the last year of high school is filled with a satification that she has never experienced before. Tony and Ellen help each other through the rough moments, the joys, and the unforgettable moments of teenage life. Their friendship blossoms into something more, and when it is time for both of them to go to the university, it is bittersweet...yet it is The Way It Is.I found this story to be just a plain outright delight. A YA romance with historical references that wasn't too corny or mushy. I loved both Ellen and Tony and their typical teenage 1960 voices. Their love story was a testament to the times...I found I was rooting for them throughout their senior year relationship.Thanks to Donalda Reid, Goodreads, Second Story Press, and Lauren Connor for this ARC copy.
wiremonkey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Librarything Early Review CopySet in the 1960s in Salmon Arm, B.C. (but salmon don¿t have arms¿) the story follows Ellen Manery, a tall, awkward, highly intelligent 16-year old. Teased since she was little about her height, Ellen has found it easier to stop trying to make friends. Instead she concentrates on her studies and her ambition to be a doctor. When her dad has a mid-life crisis and quits his job to buy a resort in the interior of B.C., Ellen is furious. She will have to move to Salmon Arm for her last year of high school instead of remaining in Vancouver and the school for advanced students where she has almost completed the credits she needs to graduate. At first, Salmon Arm seems to be like every other school she¿s been to, where the other students either ignore her or tease her. But then she meets Tony, the only First Nations kid in school. An unlikely friendship blooms, and Ellen finally learns the joys and pains of being close to someone. This is a quiet, beautifully written story about first love, growing up and the horrible yet fragile face of prejudice. After being immersed in books that are heavy on the plot and light on character development, this book was a welcome change. Reid¿s description of the angst Ellen feels when she has to get on the school bus, or when she has to find a seat in class, were so well done I actually felt that I had succumbed to a time warp and was right back to being a teenager, heart racing, palms sweaty wishing I could just melt into the background.This is one of those books where nothing big happens. Nobody dies. Nobody gets pregnant or beat up, or put in jail. What does happen is that Ellen grows up. She learns how to love and be a friend and how to stand up for herself and others. Her friendship with Tony starts off slowly, but Reid is a master at imbuing these small moments with such tension I could not put the book down. Will Tony talk to her? What will she say? What if she says something wrong? Although this is mainly Ellen¿s journey, the final message is one that she teaches Tony as well: the way it is, is not the way it needs to be. We all have the ability to be control of our own destinies. I also enjoyed the way Reid handled the underlying prejudice of the town. Although it¿s not overblown Mississippi Burning style (eg. Nobody gets burned on the cross), it is a constant undercurrent in the narrative. At the beginning of the novel, Ellen witnesses some drunken white men brutally beat some Indians (also drunk) on the side of the hotel. When she calls for help, the bartender just shrugs and looks away, saying that, ¿it¿s just a bunch of Indians.¿ To Ellen, growing up in a sheltered liberal, academic environment, this is shocking. To the townspeople and to Tony, it is ¿Just the way it is.¿ There are a couple of episodes with Tony as well, where the racial slurs are so subtly interwoven into the fabric of the town yet so unexpected to Ellen, they feel as big and horrible as the horrors being lived to the south at that time (race riots in the U.S.) A quibble: perhaps this is a new fangled way of interspersing first person thought in a third person narrative, but I found the odd places where the narrative suddenly switches to first person without any warning (ie. Italics, or quotes) to be disconcerting.In all though, this is a well-crafted story told with insight, empathy and beauty. I would recommend this book as a companion piece to ¿To Kill a Mockingbird¿ or to girls who like Coming of Age stories. Ages 12+
exploreacademy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great story about growing up and recognizing the evils of the world. After working her whole high school life to get into college early, Ellen's parents decide that they haven't done what they wanted in their lives and decide to move. Ellen thought she knew what it meant to be an outsider, (a girl with height and brains), but she didn't. Out of all the trials and tribulations of moving to a new town, she meets Tony Paul (a smart Indian) and they become friends. Many questions come up about race, femininity, and more. With their friendship they break boundaries and find themselves.
laVermeer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Way It Is presents a moment in time that is ¿ or should be ¿ at once historical and identifiable. The novel opens in 1967. Ellen, a bright high school student, is forced to move from Vancouver to Salmon Arm. A socially awkward, determined loner, Ellen struggles with her peer group, the sexism of her teachers, and her emotional immaturity until she discovers friendship. Tony, a local native boy, is a loner for very different reasons, but a few kind words lead to a strong and important relationship between Tony and Ellen. Time passes, and eventually Ellen must choose which path she will follow.Compared to the vulgar materialism and hyper-realism of most of today's YA writing, this book is quite old fashioned ¿ and that quality makes it particularly refreshing. Several times the narrator refers to Burnett's The Secret Garden, and there are echoes of that text throughout this one. The story is slowly paced and the narrative arc is gradual and straightforward. We get to know Ellen well, although some readers may be frustrated at her innocence. Tony remains elusive, Ellen's parents are somewhat indistinct, and the other figures in the text are largely types, present only to move the action forward.I applaud the publisher for taking a risk on a book that won't be serialized and that limits the violence, sexuality, and consumerism in the text. There are many under-developed tensions in the book ¿ at nearly 300 pages, the exploration of racism and relationships is all the story has room for ¿ but an attentive reader may recognize these tensions and ask questions about the systemic sexism, inequality, and pressures of capitalism that underpin the situation. The narrator signals that the world is flawed, yet hope remains ¿ an appropriate tone for a text set in the late 1960s.A solid book for a sensitive, contemplative reader, The Way It Is presents a story that reaches through the decades. This book will make a strong addition to teen collections and high school libraries, but with its subtle cover, it may be overlooked without a recommendation from a trusted reader.
theresa2011 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Way It Is was an interesting read. Ellen and Tony, the main characters, are compelling. However, the writing was somewhat simplistic and I thought that some of the themes could have been expanded upon (such as Ellen's realization at the end that she was isolating herself).
mesmericrevelation on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Way It Is a fantastic book. I read it last year but never got around to writing a review. So here it is. I really really enjoyed this one. I honestly couldn't put it down. It is a bit of a heavy topic and I think that is the biggest reason I liked this book. The characters, plot and writing were amazing as well.All in all, this was a really great book that I plan on re-reading again sometime in the near future.
RebeccaNaomi More than 1 year ago
I admit much too many things. So I am just going to tell you how I saw it. From reading the summary I thought that the story would have a lot more romance in it. That and it would show more sexism toward Ellen. On the racism front the only person who was really prejudice against Tony was Tony. There was some toward Indians in general but most of the time it was him telling Ellen that him being excluded was just the way it was. The majority of the book is about Ellen going to school and trying to make friends with Tony. In the absence of any favorite or unfavored characters I will tell about the main characters. Ellen is a recluse who keeps to herself because it never comes to mind for her to try to make friends with anyone. Tony is a local Indian boy. Am I supposed to say Native American? Does that term apply to them if they are from Canada or are they Native Canadians? Anyway to me the only person who is keeping Tony back is himself. He is always stopping himself from doing things. Also the prejudice did not really have a time in which you really realized that it was real. There was not epiphany moment for me that made the violence real to me. The writing was slightly simplistic and I wish that some points were more emphasized then they were. Like Ellen's epiphany that she pushed people away from her. There were good points though. I liked the book overall. It was interesting.