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


Catch You Later, Traitor: 02/04/18

Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi

Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi is set in 1951 at the height of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations into Communism and other "subversives." But this is Brooklyn and our main character is a "regular kid" named Pete Collison.

First of all there's no such thing as a "regular kid" and the ones who insist that they are usually at the top of the privilege food chain. The 1950s spoiled white boy is what the modern day dangerous, mansplainer is emulating.

Structurally Catch You Later is like Nothing But the Truth but it's too wrapped up in 1950s pop culture. It's Brooklyn from the "Good Ol' Days" before the Dodgers left for Los Angeles. It's detective shows on radio.

Then his whole world is turned upside down when suddenly his family is accused of being communist. He's being followed by the FBI, shunned by his friends, and plagued by mysterious phone calls begging him to help. It's not to say that lives weren't affected — 300 people from the film industry had their careers disrupted by HUAC. These were primarily Jewish or other immigrant workers in the industry.

As no mention is made of Pete's ethnicity or religion and given his insistence on being "typical" we are left to assume he's a white, middle to upper middle class boy. It's unlikely that he or his family would be on the FBI's radar no matter how evil or insistent the teacher might have been.

So what we have here is a scary story — a threat to white privilege by means created by white men of power to keep minorities down. But until something significant changes, it's also complete hog wash.

One star

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