Wednesday, 30 May 2018

They Come In All Colors

Author: Malcolm Hansen
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Published: Atria Books
First Published: May 29, 2018
First Line: "I only have to close my eyes to see that son of a bitch Zukowski, passed out like he was on the dining hall floor".

Book Description from GoodReadsMalcolm Hansen arrives on the scene as a bold new literary voice with his stunning debut novel. Alternating between the Deep South and New York City during the 1960s and early '70s, They Come in All Colors follows a biracial teenage boy who finds his new life in the big city disrupted by childhood memories of the summer when racial tensions in his hometown reached a tipping point.
It's 1968 when fourteen-year-old Huey Fairchild begins high school at Claremont Prep, one of New York City’s most prestigious boys’ schools. His mother had uprooted her family from their small hometown of Akersburg, Georgia, a few years earlier, leaving behind Huey’s white father and the racial unrest that ran deeper than the Chattahoochee River.

But for our sharp-tongued protagonist, forgetting the past is easier said than done. At Claremont, where the only other non-white person is the janitor, Huey quickly realizes that racism can lurk beneath even the nicest school uniform. After a momentary slip of his temper, Huey finds himself on academic probation and facing legal charges. With his promising school career in limbo, he begins examining his current predicament at Claremont through the lens of his childhood memories of growing up in Akersburg during the Civil Rights Movement—and the chilling moments leading up to his and his mother's flight north.

With Huey’s head-shaking antics fueling this coming-of-age narrative, the story triumphs as a tender and honest exploration of race, identity, family, and homeland.

My Rating: 2 stars (ie. 'meh')

My Review: As soon as I read the blurb on this book I was eager to get my hands on a copy. It's a coming of age story about a bi-racial boy who witnesses and experiences prejudice in his hometown in Georgia in the 1960's (although not quite understanding what he was witnessing), and later, in the 1970's, as a teen in NYC as he attends an all-white prestigious high school. 

Unfortunately, I struggled on and off for two weeks to get through this book. I didn't connect with the story or the main character and found the author's method of telling the story disjointed, hard to follow and the lack of quotation marks didn't help matters. While I think the author was trying for a look at civil rights and racism through the eyes of a child (kind of like John Boyne looked at the Holocaust through the eyes of young Bruno in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), I don't think that was achieved here. I felt it lacked emotion, connection to its characters and fluidity in the storytelling. 

While others may enjoy this book more, They Come In All Colors just wasn't for me. 

Disclaimer: This Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

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