Friday, April 4, 2014

I Don't Wanna Be An Orange Anymore - Hank Kellnor

From Goodreads:

Growing up in the fictional town of Meadowview, young Willie Watson objects to being required to play the part of an orange in the school play when he is nine and in the fourth grade. But that's just the beginning of his problems. As he continues through elementary school and into junior high school, Willie has to deal with the town bully; Christmas with his relatives; the death of a schoolmate; the loss of his girlfriend; the theft of a fountain pen, and his broken eyeglasses.

But that’s not all. Willie doesn’t want to eat his peas; take the garbage out; deal with his troublesome kid sister; try to climb the ropes in gym class while his gym teacher harasses him, or have to stay after school until he’s “…old enough to grow a beard.”

Readers will discover how Willy becomes a member of Brucie’s gang; what happens in the old movie house on Main Street; how feisty old Grandma inspires Willie, and much, much more.

Included in this book are such chapters as "There Is No Santa Claus," "Oh Captain, My Captain," "The Dog in the Rhinestone Collar," "A Bird's Just a Bird," and "Hey Brucie, Your Sister Wears Long Underwear."

I Don’t Wanna Be an Orange Anymore contains a wealth of humorous and often touching descriptions of a young boy's fantasies and life experiences as he grows up in a small town many years ago.

My Thoughts:

From the first incident in this book when Willie stops the school play with his announcement he doesn’t want to be an orange, I found myself laughing.  Although the beginning of this story took place around 1942, people born in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or even today could relate to things that Willie went through.  He dealt with bullies, like Brucie Schultz.  He even joined Brucie’s gang until he was required to harass and abuse other kids.  This shows he had a great moral foundation.  When Brucie cornered  Carvis Bullock, one of the few colored kids at the school Willie knew he should do something but was too afraid of the bully to interfere.  However, when the teacher finally intervened and suggested to Carvis that maybe it would be better if he stayed indoors instead of going outside for recess, Willie knew this was just wrong.  I could identify with every situation where Willie was blamed for something he didn’t do.  He took the punishment and kept his mouth shut for many different reasons.  We follow Willie all the way through adulthood. This is definitely a trip down memory lane in so many ways for all ages.  Childhood experiences don’t change a lot.  It was refreshing to be reminded that so often the things we go through as a child is what shapes us into the adult we become.  Would I recommend this book? I most definitely would.  This was an excellent read.  I am so glad I was asked to read and review it.

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