I almost closed my Kindle and gave up on the advance reading copy of Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian when I realized it would be peppered with more profanity than suited my taste. Hang with me while I put this issue to rest, and I will take you to a discussion of a book well worth the read. I’m not in favor of banning books and know quite well that Rhett Butler would’ve lost power if he’d said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a darn.” However, I do have a problem with books and movies that seem to have superfluous swearing for the sake of raising ratings. I’m glad I didn’t stop reading, although I did sometimes found the quantity of pepper distracted from a powerful story.
Tom Bouchard seems to have it all as he nears the end of his high school education – captain of the football team, girl friend, choice of colleges if he gets those applications filled out – until he lets his friend Donnie con him into painting graffiti on the rival school’s spirit rock. Of course, the police catch them. His required community service and his hope for a successful football season becomes entwined with Somali refugees – Saeed and his three soccer-playing buddies who may give his team the boost they need to beat their rivals and Saeed’s sister Samira who is a puzzle to Tom. All the elements of a good high school story intertwine naturally. There’s a love story, Tom’s redemption for his vandalism, and a return to his business of preparing for college. The additional thread of Tom’s blunders with his friends’ culture was the most powerful element in the book for me as they brought unexpected and unwanted results, some without an easy solution.
I recommend this book (to be released on February 12) as a companion to Inside Out and Back Again, the subject of my post on Monday, for the opposite perspectives of a refugee and a member of a community where refugees settle. With the current emphasis on immigration, wise decisions might be made easier by seeing the people rather than just the political issue.