Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell 2002
Rating: 5/5 :)
IQ "I look into the mirror and into my soul and I know that my strength comes not from how I look, but how I feel, and how I feel determines who I am." Evan pg. 24
Another very quotable book, every line is poetic. Who Will Tell My Brother? is written in free-verse and I think it's the best way to tell the story. Evan Hill decides to carry on the fight that his older brother, Jacob, started. Jacob is two years older than Evan and when he attended Evan's high school, he fought to have the offensive Indian chief mascot changed. However, he didn't succeed. Now Evan picks up the fight.
Free-verse is the best way to tell the story because it clearly articulates why Evan is doing what he is doing, it showcases his emotions and presents a compelling read. The free-verse narrative showcases the intense feelings and effects of alienation, determination, humiliation and ignorance. You also learn a lot more about Evan as a person from the poetic lines. Poetry and free-verse are very deep and can help paint a picture as to what a person is like. We learn that Evan is an artist "as my artist brain takes over and my hand begins to move, seemingly uncontrolled, sketching methodically, but urgently, as though the image might melt away at any moment", half-Mohawk (on his father's side, I'm unsure as to the heritage of his mother), intelligent, articulate, brave, persevering and honest. Evan is a great character. He's human with acknowledged flaws, I grew increasingly angry at the compliance of the high school students to do nothing as well as at the people who mocked Evan, calling him "timber n-", "Injun" and other awful names. The story of Butch was quite upsetting too.
The intolerance, prejudices and stereotypes made me cringe. Yet I wasn't too surprised because something similar was occurring in Illinois (read more about it here) a few years ago. The book made me think and question myself: Do I simply accept Native American images no matter how offensive? Or do I question them? I do a little of both, I wanted the Illini mascot to change, but I've never really thought of asking the Atlanta Braves to change their name. However, I do think that we also need to ask ourselves: If someone was else was fighting this battle, would I be willing to help them and take a stand? Or would I work against them, or even worse, remain passive? I would help.
This story remains as a valuable lesson to today's society. It's not outdated in the slightest, there are so many schools and sports teams that still have offensive mascots (Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, etc). I walked away from this book with the knowledge that one teenager can make a difference. Even if the change doesn't result in an actual, 'physical' change, if you change even a few attitudes for the better, than you've succeeded. Who Will Tell My Brother? is fictional but based on the real experiences of Ms. Carvell's two sons while in high school. I strongly this book be read. High school and up.
Side Note: I've been having great luck lately with Male Monday books! Mostly 5/5 or 4/5 rating, I think I may end up liking books with guy protagonists a whole lot more than books with girl protagonists!