I can’t tell how much of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe is a commentary on racism, but as a young black French Canadian moves to Austin, Texas, a fair amount of anxiety regarding the mistreatment of people for the color of their skin is understandable. Though I can’t exactly recall or think of which sitcoms are referenced in the synopsis as having given the main character, Norris, the idea that Texas is a very racist place–perhaps they exist or perhaps they’re fictional, but I don’t think I’ve seen them–it is this understanding Norris has that leads him to respond to his new classmates in a manner that involves not making many friends and truly believing the stereotypes he’s seen exist.
In all honesty, I’m nervous about reading this book. It just sounds like an awkward story with a conversation that I’m guessing may make me rather uncomfortable to read. But I just feel that I need to know how this story is going to go, how the conversation is handled, and whether or not this book is actually worth my time. It seems to have gotten a lot of good ratings thus far, so maybe my worries about The Field Guide to the North American Teenager are a little misplaced? I’m not sure.
I’ve added it to my TBR for now, but if I see anything problematic about it, I’ll consider removing it. We’ll just have to see.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? Was it well handled? Good? Do you think you’ll be adding it to your TBR if you haven’t read it? Or maybe you wont be? Let me know in the comments!