Friday, May 26, 2017

Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Caught - ADVISABLE

Vaught, Susan Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry, 334 pages.  Simon & Schuster, 2017.  $17.  Language: PG (9 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (reference to a disturbing song, race riot undescribed).

Just as school lets out for the summer, Mac tells Dani that he is no longer allowed to hagn out with her.  Dani, 13, knows that their grandmothers used to be friends and that something happened that made them quite speaking to each other, but why does that mean that Mac can’t be her friend?  Something has been hidden in their pasts for decades.  Now that Dani’s grandmother (who is living with them because of her Alzheimer’s and very poor health) is dying, Grandma wants to tell Dani something about the feud, but Dani can’t understand.  She finds some clues, though, and pursues the leads – but does she really want to know the information she might find at the end?  Is it good for anyone for the truth to be exposed?

Dani is biracial and her grandmother is black.  Mac is white and so is his grandmother.  That is important to know, because the plot of this book and the grandmothers’ secret relate to an episode of major cultural appropriation.  Interestingly, Susan Vaught, the author, is white and she is writing from the point of view of the biracial teenager.   Hmmm – I thought it was a kind of odd occurrence, considering the crux of the book.  However, I still recommend this as a read.  Vaught does a good job of weaving the past and the present together.  She does mention a song by Billie Holliday that is (and should be) deeply disturbing, if a student should happen to look up the lyrics as I did.  I think this is a must read for many communities.  And the topic of cultural appropriation could be fuel for a great classroom discussion.

MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

No comments: