How have I not posted about this book yet? I think I’ve planing to for so long, that I forgot that I hadn’t actually done it yet. I met Nina Revoyr at last year’s Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival, and she was so nice. She’s got an amazing collection of novels, and I would definitely recommend each one of them! So yes, about Wingshooters:
I love it when a book completely pulls me out of this world and conjures up emotions buried deep within me. Wingshooters definitely did that with its precise, methodical prose and characters whose voices echoed in my head. This novel follows Michelle (Mikey) as she goes to live with her grandparents in rural Wisconsin. The daughter of a white man and Japanese woman, Mikey sticks out and becomes the target of incessant bullying. The only thing that keeps life bearable is the presence of her grandfather, a man that many in the town greatly respect and fear. Mikey says:
“He taught me how to punch, how to block incoming blows, how to throw rocks back with accuracy and strength. These lessons made my life easier and the irony only strikes me now: it was my grandfather, prejudiced white man…who taught me how to survive as a child of color in America” (24).
When a black couple moves into town, all of the hate is redirected from Mikey to this couple – thus beginning the downward spiral of the community. Mikey is sympathetic to their experience, but also afraid that if she shows this compassion, she becomes a target again:
“I did wonder…what it was like for Mr. Garrett. …Did he go home at night and share stories with his wife about how people whom he’d never hurt treated him like he carried the plague? And of course I wondered these things…because I had gone through them myself” (169).
The reader is so close to the narrator’s thoughts that I felt I was breathing with the character. Revoyr examines race, justice and the limits of community in this novel in a way that is both familiar and fresh, and wholly inspiring.
Of course, check out her website and this video below of her reading at festival:
ALSO! Please donate to the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival! June 16 & 17! See you there!