Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't hate me, Matt!

Matt gave me an advanced copy of his upcoming book (hitting stores in August), Mexican Whiteboy, so I read it while I was in Vietnam (finished it after coming back from a smokey, loud, Vietnamese club blasting bad techno).

In my honest opinion, I didn't like it as much as I liked his first book, Ball Don't Lie.  There's a raw grittiness in his first book that I really liked, and a true love of his character, Sticky, that shines through in his first book.  Mexican Whiteboy I felt, while much better crafted, didn't have as much heart as his first book did.  Also, to me, it felt more like a true YA novel, while I felt BDL could be either.

That's not to say the book isn't good in itself.  It tackles the issue of straddling two races, and addresses one of the most important things in adolescence - acceptance - in a multitude of ways.  Acceptance from peers, in sport, among family, among racial groups, by parents.  For me, the most interesting parts where when Danny is at home with his Mexican family, and he never QUITE gets everything.  Is always sort of one foot out, and he struggles to keep up.  I liked that a lot.

I think, when I was finished, I felt like I'd only skimmed the surface of the story.  I wanted more, I wanted a more nitty gritty, a deeper dive.  And that's probably why I didn't like it as much as BDL.  But it's still good in its originality in tackling a bunch of different issues.  And the dual perspective was an added bonus.  I love multiple POVs.

Matt's going to hate me forever!

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