Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

First of all, you need to know this is a novel about a transgendered teen. But this story is about so much more. It's about fitting in, being accepted, the importance of friends, and about knowing who you are and having the courage to be your true self.

Parrotfish is a story about gender identification. Imagine the most "manly" person you can think of; now imagine the most feminine and place them at opposite ends of a football field. Now place yourself where you think you belong. Most people are not at either end of the spectrum, but probably nearer one end or the other.

Angela was born female, but once she began to think about her gender, it was clear that she felt more like a boy. In her freshman year of high school, she changes her name to Grady and begins to dress like a boy.

This is the story about that year and all that happens in Grady's family and in school. I'm so glad I read this - it was filled with things to think about and also was laugh-out-loud funny in many parts. (Every Christmas Eve, Grady's family dresses up as characters in A Christmas Story and reenacts a Victorian Christmas as their entire town watches through the living room picture window.)

This novel is definitely for more mature thinkers because of the subject matter, but I think Parrotfish is appropriate for grades 8 and up.

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