By Mary MacVean
August 8, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
“If I Ever Get Out of Here,” Eric Gansworth’s first novel for young people, rings true with a sophisticated look at what it’s like to be an outsider and what it takes to be a true friend.
Lewis Blake has precious little going for him in school; he’s smart, sure. But he’s super skinny, essentially friendless, his family is dirt poor, and he’s from the “rez” in an area that routinely treats his Tuscarora Reservation community with disdain â€” or worse.
The friendship part starts to change with the arrival at school of George, an Air Force kid. Lewis and George share the same experiences many adolescent pals do: eagerness to learn about girls, sneaked beers, campouts. And in their case a mad crush on Beatles music, a passion also shared by George’s dad.
While friendship is a common theme in kids’ books, Gansworth’s perspective gives it a fresh spin. The author, a professor of English at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., is a member of the Onondaga Nation and was born and raised on the Tuscarora Reservation. He pulls in elements such as race, poverty and power in ways that are compelling and honest. Just as many Americans have recently been forced to confront their own reactions to race, some of the characters are forced to question their beliefs.
Read the full review at L.A. Times