April 21, 2016
George by Alex Gino
by Alex Gino
When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows that she is a girl.
She decides that if she can only get to play Charlotte in the 4th grade play, everyone will see her for who she really is. Everyone who wants a part gets a chance to audition with boys reading the part of Wilbur and girls reading Charlotte. George and her best friend Kelly practice all weekend and with Kelly’s encouragement, George reads Charlotte’s part.
But when George delivers Charlotte’s lines at school, the teacher things he’s playing a joke. Even when she realizes that George really wants the part, she explains that too many girls want the part. “He” can’t have it. She gives the part to Kelly.
For a week, Kelly and George don’t speak. Kelly is afraid that George is mad at her for getting the part. George is mad and sad and so much more. Will anyone see her for who she truly is inside? But Kelly is a true friend and, after doing some reading and a lot of thinking, realizes that having George as a best friend means accepting her for who she truly is. Together, Kelly and George cook up a plan so that George can show herself as Charlotte.
I don’t want to give away any more of the plot. Suffice it to say that this is an utterly amazing book. Admittedly, parts of it were hard to read simply because I hated to see people being so blind and mean and awful to anyone, but especially to such a gentle soul. Not that it was all gloom and doom. Clearly Alex Gino believes that people can be surprising and it’s George’s brother who shines as George starts to tell everyone who she is. “I’m not gay. I’m a girl.” “Oh.” Back to eating dinner. “Ohhh.” More to eat. “Ohhhhhhhhh.” It takes a bit for the light to dawn in big brother’s mind but when it does, he has to admit that an awful lot about George now makes sense. And that is, as they say, that.
There really is so much to love about this book. My one concern is that people will judge it just as they would judge George. In truth, we would all be much better off if they would take the time to read it, digest what they’ve read, and let the truth of the words fall into place.