June 14, 2014

Call Me By My Name - John Ed Bradley

Call Me By My Name - John Ed Bradley
Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks S&S!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Growing up in Louisiana in the late 1960s, Tater Henry has experienced a lot of prejudice. His town is slow to desegregate and slower still to leave behind deep-seated prejudice.

Despite the town's sensibilities, Rodney Boulet and his twin sister Angie befriend Tater, and as their friendship grows stronger, Tater and Rodney become an unstoppable force on the football field. That is, until Rodney sees Tater and Angie growing closer, too, and Rodney's world is turned upside down. Teammates, best friends; Rodney's world is threatened by a hate he did not know was inside of him. (from Goodreads)

I hadn't heard of Call Me By My Name before it appeared in the mail one day. Reading the summary made me curious, and so, I decided to give this novel a chance. Is it a new favorite? Not particularly. But did I like it? Actually, yes, there are definitely things about it I did like. All in all, I'd say it was an average read.

Though it didn't leave much of a mark on me, Call Me By My Name is by no means an easy read. It's hard to read about a time in history where such blatant racism and the accompanying aggression existed (especially if you reflect on the fact that it still exists in some places today). There were a lot of scenes that made me mad, sad and left me terrified or horrified -- which I guess is a good thing, since the writing at least elicited a ton of feeling out of me (even though not all these feelings were nice).

It's interesting that the author chose to use Rodney (a white boy) as a narrator. He bears witness to majority of the big events that Tater (a black boy) experiences, both good and bad. I haven't felt so conflicted about a character in a while. Rodney's thoughts are bared to the reader, good, bad and confused, and it's not easy to swallow sometimes. It's a clever move, in a way, because it paints the situation in a more realistic light and almost challenges the reader to think about how they would have reacted or felt in his place.

Even without a strong connection to the characters, and a few reservations about how the story was told, I still think it was worth it to read Call Me By My Name. While I wouldn't read it again, I do appreciate how it inspired me to reflect on race, prejudice and what it looks like today versus back then.


  1. I like books that make me think and reflect and I definitely got a surprise copy of this book too. I am thinking I should read it very, very soon, sounds like it's quick and thoughtful. I have that feeling a lot too -- about not really thinking I'll read a book again, but liking my experience with it, nonetheless.

  2. I haven't heard of this book at all until your review. I'm intrigued because the cover of it immediately makes me think of Remember the Titans, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I guess it's the football player on the cover, and the fact that race will obviously come into play in the book, since there's a black guy and a white girl on the cover too. I'm glad you ended up liking it...I like those books that surprise me and make me think.


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