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Wingshooters Paperback – February 8, 2011
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--Lisa See, author of Shanghai Girls
"Nina Revoyr's young protagonist and her searing, skillfully told story are unforgettable. Don't miss it."
--Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund
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Top Customer Reviews
Her new novel, "Wingshooters" takes place in the small Wisconsin town of Deerhorn. A white husband and his Japanese wife bring their little girl, Michelle, to meet her white grandparents. Her grandfather, Charlie, falls in love with the woebegone child; her grandmother doesn't quite know what to say or do except feed people. Michelle stays on with her grandparents. She is mocked at school, bullied by other children and teachers, simply because she is new to them, someone who doesn't look like them.
Michelle yearns for her father, supposedly off looking for her mother, who has left them. She loves to spend time in the woods with her grandpa, learning about the fish and the trees, the natural beauty. Above all, she loves her grandfather's hunting dog, Brett. And like any much-loved dog, he loves her back with his entire dog heart.
Things move along quietly as Michelle observes the townspeople, the way the men interact at the coffee shop, the way the women are not approachable even at church.
Then, a black couple, both highly educated, attractive, good people come to Deerhorn. The wife is a nurse, who helps in the expanding clinic. The husband is to sub at Michelle's school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Garrett comport themselves with dignity, doing their jobs and trying to live within the constraints of this small town. Michelle is shocked at the venom in her Grandfather Charlie's voice as he talks about people's "place" in society.
The storm of distrust and hatred builds to a boiling point.Read more ›
Set in the early 1970s, Deerhorn, Wisconsin is a small town with a small town mentality. As Deerhorn's first and only person of color, Michelle is constantly ridiculed and insulted by her peers as well as adults. In order to defend herself, Charlie teaches her to fight and to shoot a gun and this time spent together grows into her sharing his appreciation of nature and outdoor sports, like hunting and baseball. He calls her Mike, as she has grown into quite the tomboy, sharing most of her afternoons with the family dog, the only friend she has. Things begin to change when the Garretts, an African-American couple arrive and stir up the town's fears of anyone that looks differently than they do. Michelle acquires a secret fondness of both Mr. & Mrs. Garrett sharing with them a commonality that only the three of them can.
Ms. Revoyr's writing immediately drew me in and allowed me to connect to the character of Michelle as I empathized with her daily trials and wanted to jump into the pages and help her, especially when she had to witness senseless acts of violence and experience the failings of parental responsibilities and human character.Read more ›
Michelle LeBeau has a white father and a Japanese mother, but lives with her grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin, where she is the only "colored" person in town. Her grandfather, Charlie LeBeau, is one of the town's most respected men. A bigot who strongly disapproves of his son's interracial marriage, he nevertheless dotes on his only grandchild. Everything changes in the summer of 1974 when the local clinic expands, resulting in the arrival of Mr and Mrs Garrett - a young black couple from Chicago. Charlie and his friends are incensed and voice their prejudice at every opportunity. Mikey is uniquely able to understand the isolation the Garretts feel, and is drawn to them.
The beauty of this novel is that while it deals with tragedy, Revoyr also is writing about a young child who feels loved and protected by her grandparents, a child who enjoys the outdoors and the freedom to explore the sights, sounds and smells of the country. Michelle has a front-row seat to the happenings in town, and observes the people she knows and loves as their darkest faults come to light. She also begins to recognize what true courage looks like, and the reader can only hope that she will chose carefully which traits to emulate.
Revoyr mines her own childhood for this exploration of family values as much as it is of racism in America. Clearly the isolation her character feels is what Revoyr herself felt in the few years she spent in central Wisconsin as a child (See this story - [...]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book quietly exposes the pain of racism that can destroy a small community. Eye opening and heart felt.Published 4 months ago by Carol J. Ewer
Best book I have read in ages. The descriptions took you there, you could smell the forest, the water, the snow. The story kept you going, the e motional impact was huge. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I didn't enjoy this book. I finished feeling that the message was incomplete,Published 14 months ago by Maureen Miller
The story revolves around a brief time in a young girls life that shapes her later years as she reflects on the time she spends with her Granfather.Published 19 months ago by Nancy Lefler
I read this because my book club decided on it, but although it treated racism in rural Wisconsin in the 1950s quite well, I was not interested in reading a book about ignorant... Read morePublished 22 months ago by donnagreen
A good primer into the subtleties and not-so-subtle forms of prejudice. The Japanese-American girl is "kinda, sorta" accepted by many in a fictitious rural Wisconsin town... Read morePublished 22 months ago by WIbuyer