The teenage years are an emotional minefield in the best of circumstances. Imagine living in a newly gentrified neighborhood, with hippie parents start a community garden, who make you wear only hand-me-down clothes, refuse to spring for a new pair of “kicks”, then send you, a nerdy white kid, to an inner city, predominantly black school. You are one of only two white kids in your class, along with an Asian, and a couple of Latinos. Green, by Sam Graham-Felsen, is a hilarious, yet heartbreaking coming of age story set in Boston, Massachusetts.
David Alexander Greenfeld (Dave) is this kid. Everyone makes fun of him, picks on him, or ignores him. Everyone except Marlon Wellings (Mar) who lives in the high-rise public housing project that borders Dave’s neighborhood. Mar is also a nerdy kid who blows away Dave’s assumptions about black culture. Together, Dave and Mar plot their method to be accepted to Harvard. The boys become fast friends, but as fractures begin to appear in their friendship, Dave realizes all the freedoms and privileges he has that Mar doesn’t have.
Told by Dave, and chock full of teenage jargon, this sweet, funny story will challenge your assumptions about race and justice; and will raise important questions about race relations. Green should be required reading. It will be available January 2, 2018.