George

George - Alex Gino

I have mixed feeling about this novel; it was a good read, it just was not as fantastic as I hoped it to be. I was left with a few questions after I read the last few pages so let me give you both sides of the picture.   The relationship that George has with Kelly his best friend is priceless; she steps out on a limb for him and being fourth-graders that’s huge for me. The novel is short, smaller than I had anticipated but inside those few pages there are some great messages that readers will walk away with. The main character George emerges in this novel, as his world is slowly closing in on him, he strives to make himself known with the encouragement from his best friend. George has struggled with his identity for years, George feels like a girl, he has for many years and he keep these feeling to himself.   George’s fourth grade class is performing the play of Charlotte’s Web and the cast will be assigned roles based on their sexual identity. Males will get male roles and females will get the female roles. George wants a female role, the only character he wants to play in the performance, as he knows that he will be the best person to play that part. If only it were this easy. I had to wonder what type of teacher would restrict her cast to such confided limitations. Wouldn’t she just want to have the best person play the part? I was surprised that other students did not object to her standards of the limited gender roles.   I was also confused at who the target audience would be for this novel, I know who I would hope they were targeting and who might need to read it but will this novel be available for the middle elementary levels?  Peer pressure, family structure and finding your place in the world are a struggle but even more so when you’re not sure of the skin you’re in.