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Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr
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Wingshooters (edition 2011)

by Nina Revoyr

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16512103,835 (3.66)8
Member:jasonpettus
Title:Wingshooters
Authors:Nina Revoyr
Info:Akashic Books (2011), Paperback, 230 pages
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Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr

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I have heard this book compared to To Kill a Mockingbird; I think that comparison holds up pretty well.

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 – http://scottkennethnoble.blogspot.com/2011/07/foreigner-in-marshfieldwingshooter...)

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  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
For me, the heart-wrenching story of this book was too blatant. I don't need all the pains of racism and discrimination laid out so plainly in front of me to understand the hurts they can cause. It was as if the author was telling us about racism rather than showing us. I also felt that the main character and narrator was not that believable at times. I know it was supposed to be an adult looking back on her childhood, but at times she showed more insight than seemed realistic. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
This is one of those books where due to the elements within you KNOW it's leading up to something terrible but it is well written so despite the looming doom you stick with it and it is worth it.

It's the story of a young girl - half Japanese -growing up in rural Wisconsin in the mid-70s. Her town is pretty intolerant and the grandfather who loves her is no exception - despite his devotion to his granddaughter.

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  sumik | Jul 18, 2013 |
I absolutely love this book. I remember the time period and it is so accurate from my experience as far as peoples attitudes and treatment of others. Doesn't excuse some of what happens but still realistic. I felt like I was right there during parts and really wanted to be there during other parts. Not a happily ever after book. Extremely well written. ( )
  mrsrogerq | Mar 9, 2012 |
“Wingshooters” is grim reminder that hatred and bigotry have no place in a civilized world.
Michelle LeBeau, the nine year old daughter of a white American father and Japanese mother, has come to live with her American grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin. It’s the early 1970’s and Deerhorn has remained virtually unchanged for the past 30 years. Michelle, or “Mike”, as her grandfather likes to call her, is the first non-Caucasian person many residents have ever seen. No one is very happy that she has come to live in their town. Mike’s grandfather, Charlie, who is well respected in town, is torn between his love for his granddaughter and the shame of his son’s marriage. Michelle is tormented and bullied by her schoolmates but finds comfort spending time outside with her dog Brett. When an African American couple comes to live and work in town, Michelle sees just how ignorant, bigoted and hateful her neighbors, and her grandfather, really are.
This is a powerful, brutal and disturbing story that will leave you shaking your head at the senseless violence and utter disregard for life portrayed within its pages. A great choice for book clubs, this wonderfully written novel will linger in your thoughts well after the last page is turned. ( )
  suballa | Jan 18, 2012 |
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Michelle LeBeau and her white-Japanese family are forever changed when a black family moves into her all-white town in 1974.

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Akashic Books

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