Thursday, November 5, 2009
Why I Fight by J. Adams Oaks
Oaks, J. Adams. Why I Fight, 228 pgs. Richard Jackson Book (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), 2009. RATINGS : Language – PG13 (mostly contains innocuous substitutes for swear words, until the very end); Sexual Content & Violence – PG.
Set in an unnamed area, this book contains Wyatt’s narrative of his life as told to you, the reader, someone he has met on the bus at the very end of the story. The language is full of colloquialisms and grammatical errors, which makes the story very immediate and personal. Wyatt has not had love or acceptance from his parents, and when his uncle Spade offers to take him away, he doesn’t hesitate. For a long time, he reveres Spade. However, Spade isn’t much of a role model either, moving from girlfriend to girlfriend and using everyone he knows to get what he wants. When Wyatt grows into a very large 14-year-old and punches out a pig at a pig-catching contest, Spade sees a chance to make money and has Wyatt fighting bare-knuckled on a betting circuit. Despite his hard knocks and failure to learn how to get along with others, I am determined to remain hopeful that Wyatt will find his way in the world, that he will be able to follow his naturally tender heart and actually become a gentle, content adult. This story makes me care about him and want him to succeed. Unfortunately, the odds are working against him.
MS, HS – ADVISABLE. PKFoster, MS teacher-librarian.