Wednesday, June 8, 2016

George by Alex Gino

Whew.  With Outlander safely returned to the library with 25 minutes to spare (usually I'm not so happy about the noon Wednesday and Thursday opening of my library branch), I've got some time to play catch up.  Between Saturday and now, I've finished two audio books.  I listen to audio books while doing things like walking, driving, bike riding, running, doing housework, and cooking.  So, sometimes, I burn through them faster than books I sit and read, depending on what's going on in my life at the time.  I'd already started George when Anthony and I drove to the beach on Friday.  So he wouldn't have to join in on an already started book, I started a new one with him (to be reviewed next), which isn't totally fair to him, either, as we didn't finish.  He usually prefers us to listen to podcasts for this reason, which is often what we do, but I'd really wanted to do a book, so...Anyway, this whole situation meant I had two audio books going by the time I started Outlander on Saturday.  I finished George on Sunday and the other on Monday.

So, George.  While I've been shying away from children's books, I wanted to read (or listen to) George because it was highly recommended to me by one of my very most important people, Davan.  She spoke super highly of George when she and I were at Powell's looking for a couple of books for her to take to China with her.  I actually ended up feeling a bit mixed about it.  (Sorry, Davan.)

George is the story of a girl whose body presents as a boy.  At the time of the story, she's in fourth grade, no one knows she identifies as a girl except herself, and her teacher has just read Charlotte's Web to the class.  The fourth grade will be performing Charlotte's Web as a play and George wants nothing more than to be Charlotte.  Through this desire, she gradually opens up about who she is to some of her key people. 

Here are some of the problems I had with the book:  One is not the book's fault.  It's written for kids and reads like it.  And, as I've mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of children's lit at this point in my life.  Other issues, though, remain.  One is that while I know that some fourth graders probably are into fashion mags, I don't actually know that many who are.  George is obsessed with them and keeps a secret stash.  I guess I just think that, at 10 years old, George might be more into, I don't know, American Girl or crafts or something and less into 17.  Also, again, this isn't true for all, but at 10, I think makeup is still mostly dress up/play make up, not something girls actually wear out and about.  In short, I kind of felt like while George read like a 10 year old at best, her interests were more of a 12-13 year old and that was a bit of a problem for me.

What I loved:  George stays strong about who she is, even in the face of strong opposition from her mom who says (paraphrasing), "It was cute when you were three, but it's not cute anymore!" referring to George's interest in girls' clothes and from her teacher who refuses to even consider casting her as Charlotte and is rather offensive about it.  (In fact, I was totally despairing for George's lack of support and wanted to kick some adult ass reading about it.)  George's best friend, who is taken aback at first and seems like she won't be there for George, comes around after time to think and is George's strongest support.  "If you think you're a girl, I think you're a girl!"  George's older brother is also a nice surprise when George tells him.  By the end, George's mom is making some progress and I could have kissed the principal for her support.

Ultimately, George (the book) is hopeful without glossing over the issues George will continue to face.  I rooted for George they entire way through and, although, yes, I know, she is fictional, I continue to hope things will improve for her. 

No comments:

Post a Comment