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Month in review

Reviews
Azalea, Unschooled by Liza Kleinman
Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear
Bisbee, Arizona, Then And Now by Boyd Nicholl
Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood
Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew
The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle
CatStronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Brockington
CatStronauts: Race to Mars by Drew Brockington
Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter
The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas
Finding Fortune by Delia Ray
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood
Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia by Won-Ldy Paye
Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein
In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III
"It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Pippi Moves In by Astrid Lindgren
Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
The 39-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The Upper Mississippi: A Wilderness Saga by Walter Havighurst
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

Miscellaneous
Crossing the Cornfield
January inclusivity reading and shortening the gap in reviewing
On reading your own books and moving

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Bubble Wrap Boy: 01/23/17

The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle

The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle is about Charlie Han and his over protective parents. He's a British-Chinese kid and his parents run a Chinese takeaway place. His mother is over protective to the max and he wants desperately to do anything to get out from under that protection.

Charlie one a particularly bad day sees something he's never seen before, someone flying along the street and over things on a skateboard. So of course he has to learn how to skateboard, going against his parents' will and going head to head with the bullies at school.

Here's where the book essentially lost me and I began to focus more on the huge assumptions and stereotypes holding this plot together.

First there's Charlie. He's short. He's Chinese. He lives in a Chinese takeaway. He has over protective parents. There is nothing about these attributes that are explained. They are just given and are therefore playing on stereotypes.

Looking at a chart of average heights of men by country (2012 data), Chinese men are on average only two inches shorter than English men. Some of that is genetics. Some of it is environmental. All in all it's a wash.

Looking at Chinese in Britain and BBC (British Born Chinese, not the network of the same name), at a census done in the 2000s, approximately a quarter of all Chinese in the UK work in or own a takeaway. So the chances of Charlie being both short and living in a takeaway are slim at best.

Then there is skateboarding. Skateboarding is not a new thing. In one form or another they're about a hundred years old, though in its modern recognizable form, dates to the 1960s. Granted, the modern skateboarding scene developed in my home state, that was more than fifty years ago and it's since spread all over. There is a long standing, vibrant skateboarding culture. It's not a new thing.

What the author is missing is that Charlie first and foremost is British. His parents might be immigrants but he isn't. He should be British. He should be completely immersed in the culture of his nation, his country, his city, as well as his parents' culture.

It's not that skateboarding can't be a release for Charlie. It's that it should have been presented in a more believable fashion. Why not have Charlie be completely obsessed with skateboarding before deciding to start it? Why not have the challenge being keeping it secret until he's given a chance to show off his skills in a public fashion?

Two stars

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