Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review: New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

Image from Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads
Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat's son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players - teachers and pupils alike - will never be the same again. 

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970's suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

This book is a retelling of Othello, set in a 6th grade class in 1970's Washington D.C.. You might think that's an odd setting for any Shakespeare retelling, and you're right. The whole thing just did seem to fit.

I mean the characters were well done, in that they were the typical roles you'd find on any playground. The popular kids, The Loud Girl, The Perfect Girl, The Quiet Girl, The Rich Boy, The Bully, The Sidekick. But as the story progressed these kids got way too adult. The plotting that went on, and the over the top sexual stuff. Maybe things were way different when I was in 6th grade in the late 90's, or maybe I hung out with a different group of people but stuff like this just did not happen. I think it's simply that Shakespeare's work is meant for and written about adults for a reason, and children are supposed to tell these kinds of stories, no matter what time period it's set in. I just can't buy into kids being in this story and having the adult motivations and lines of thought that they did in the book.

By the end of the book I was only reading because it's so short and I felt like I had to finish it. It just didn't work. 1 star- Do not recommend.

Note: I received a free copy of this book through Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment