Review Detail

Call Me by My Name FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 5546
Sports and Racial Tension
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Rodney plays just about every sport growing up in the south in the 1960s. He repeatedly comes across Tater Henry, a boy who tries to play baseball in the white park in 1965 and is chased off. The two are friendly enough, and when the black school is closed and all of the students sent to Rodney's high school, he's glad to finally be able to be on a team with Tater. Things don't go smoothly, even as the 1970s approach, and black players are given less prominent spots on the team, even though the coach isn't wild about the idea. Eventually, Tater becomes a quarterback and is even being considered by LSU. Rodney is trying to overcome the prejudice exhibited by his father, but it's hard even for him when Tater and Rodney's twin sister, Angie, are romantically linked.

Since most of the Civil Rights books I've come across are from the point of view of white girls, this was refreshing. The nuances of the prejudice are fantastic. Rodney feels he shouldn't care about Angie and Tater, since Tater is his best friend, but he is still bothered by the racial issue. Rodney's mother protects Tater on a couple of occasions, and views him as another young boy who needs protection, but realizes that he can't really hang out at the house when Rodney's father is there. But even Rodney's father is trying to change, even though he's not entirely sure it's the right thing to do. The football details are good. Highly readable book. More adult sports writers need to turn their hand to middle grade books.
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