If I ever get out of here / Eric Gansworth.

Cover image for If I ever get out of here
BIB ID#1656423
Call# FIC Gansworth

If I ever get out of here

New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013.
359 p. ; 22 cm.
Seventh-grader Lewis "Shoe" Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and whites--and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.

Reviews and Notes

Summary/Annotation ->  Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan's side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis's home -- will he still be his friend?

Acclaimed adult author Eric Gansworth makes his YA debut with this wry and powerful novel about friendship, memory, and the joy of rock 'n' roll.


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Briarwood - Young AdultYA GansworthAdult Trade Paperback0228607905723Due 12-17-2018
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Woodhaven - Young AdultFIC GansworthAdult Paperback0228587148807Available
Woodhaven - Young AdultYA GansworthAdult Paperback0228608998644Available
Woodside - Young AdultFIC GansworthAdult Trade Paperback0228613552980Available

Marc Record

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130619s2013 nyu c 000 1 eng c
$a 2012-030553
$a 9780545417303 $q hardcover $c $18.00
$a 0545417309
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$a 201512151324 $b ycheung $c 201306211011 $d ashuja $y 201306190925 $z jlin $w YAFJuly13.dat $x 71
$a NJQ/DLC $c NJQ $d NjBwBT
$a [Fic] $2 23
$a FIC Gansworth
$a Gansworth, Eric L.
$a If I ever get out of here / $c Eric Gansworth.
$a 1st ed.
$a New York : $b Arthur A. Levine Books, $c 2013.
$a 359 p. ; $c 22 cm.
$a Seventh-grader Lewis "Shoe" Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and whites--and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.
$a YA July13
$a Tuscarora Indians $v Fiction.
$a Families of military personnel $v Fiction.
$a Identity (Psychology) $v Fiction.
$a Friendship $v Fiction.
$a Tuscarora Nation Reservation (N.Y.) $v Fiction.
$a New York (State) $x Ethnic relations $v Fiction.
$a New York (State) $x History $y 20th century $v Fiction.
$2 BISAC $a JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship^JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / Native American^JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Bullying
$a ASHUJA-CC:0613
$a VTLSSORT0080 0100 0200 0201 0202 0203 0400 0820 0990 1000 2450 2500 2600 3000 5200 5990 6500 6501 6502 6503 6510 6511 6512 6540 9950 9992

Seventh-grader, Lewis Blake, a member of the Tuscarora Nation, lives with his family on a reservation in Niagara Falls, New York. Lewis struggles with his identity as a proud member of the Tuscarora Native American group compared with the white students who also attend his school. A vocal group of students treat Lewis with disrespect and look upon him as a lesser person because he is Native American. Lewis becomes best friends with George Haddonfield, a white boy,  who completely takes Lewis by surprise. Lewis' Uncle Albert tells him not to form this friendship because it will only create self-hatred in Lewis when he becomes aware of how the other half lives. Uncle Albert is wrong.

While this initially is the case, as the boys' friendship develops and their families come to rely on each other, Lewis learns to let down his guard and let this kind and generous boy into his life. They find they have many things in common—especially their love of the music of the Beatles. Mr. Haddonfield, George's father, also shares this obsession and takes the boys to a Beatles concert in Toronto, Canada. This leads to a number of events that bring both families together in ways they never thought possible.

Lewis is changed for the better by this friendship, as is George. While Lewis lives in abject poverty on a government reservation, George lives a middle class life on a government army base. Lewis learns to trust and to raise his expectations.Unfortunately, as an officer in the United States Army, George's father receives his orders to immediately pick up and move his family. Lewis is devastated and expresses his sorrow, but George , who has done this so many times before, acts in a matter-of-fact way to suddenly hide his emotions and close himself off to the hurt he feels once again in leaving people and places he has come to care for. George never does give Lewis his new address  but does send him a new Beatles' album postmarked Lubbock, Texas. Lewis has not choice but to accept this, understanding his friend and how he copes with the disappointments of his life.

The boys sum it up this way:

George: "Look, don't make this any harder than it is. I guess this is why I usually only make friends with other base kids. But in fairness, you knew. You had to. You saw Nelson leave, Gloria leave. Leaving is what we do. It's our way of life."

Lewis: "It's what you do," I repeated. It was a truth of his life I never understood, because my own situation could best be summed up as Never leaving is what we do. It's our way of life."

Could this also be a metaphor for the dynamic mobility available to the white society as compared with the seemingly dead end experiences of Native Americans living on reservations?

Lesson Ideas

Study the Native American tribes of New York. Compare and contrast present day lives of Native Americans throughout the country. What accounts for these differences?
What industries and job opportunities are available in the Upstate New York region? Natural resources? Climate? Institutions? Transportation? In what ways do these factors influence the financial opportunities of the people living in this region?
Study the music and lyrics of the Beatles. In what ways were the different phases of the band members' lives reflected in each new album they released?
 Imagine Lewis' life in five years. Ten years? In what ways might his life change? What goals might he set for himself?  Compose an email to send to Lewis encouraging him in his new life.