My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I knew this book would be hard for me to rate and write a review on because of the subject it handled. I went into this book unsure of Edwardson's connection with the events that unfolded in her story and I wish I would have known that Luke, Bunna, and Isaac were modeled after her husband and his brothers' real life experiences.
The pacing is a little off in the first part of the book but to me it didn't detract from the entirety of the book at all. This would be a great starter book to get your children into reading more diversely because while it does tackle some very heartbreaking issues and shows how Indigenous people were regarded as less than human and disposable by white people, it does it in a way that protects younger and more naïve sensibilities.
I was grateful for the epilogue and the way Edwardson showcased through Luke (now proudly boasting his true name- Aamaugak) how the Catholic schools effected both the individual students and the families.
This passage struck me the hardest and I hope it inspires you to read the whole book:
Legal name? He puts the pen right there on that line and signs his name, his real Inupiaq name, the one he left behind: Aamaugak. He hears the sound of it as the pen scratches the paper, the sound of his mother's voice, a warm, guttural buzz in the dusky darkness of Johnson's Lodge and Bait. Sometimes there's nobody going to give you permission. Sometimes you just have to take it for yourself.
Aamaugak. Luke thinks. What's so hard about that?
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