Author: Alex Gino
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Description from Goodreads:
BE WHO YOU ARE.
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.
George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY, wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part…because she’s a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
I’ve never read book about a transgender character before, although after discussing transgender children at uni it was certainly something that interested me. Which is why I couldn’t wait to start it.
From the very beginning George is referred to as she and her in the narrative, she’s set off as female, despite her anatomy. George is only in the fourth grade, yet has an understanding of her gender, that despite what her body is saying, she is a female. This might seem like a theme that’s too old for a child of George’s age, but Alex Gino portrayed the child-like innocence that showed George’s age. This was done through the dialogue and language used, and the insult ‘some jerk‘ that was so young and not insulting that it couldn’t help but endear you to George even more.
In the book the school are reading Charlotte’s Web, something I have never read, but it seemed to really touch George. She adores Charlotte, and as her class are putting on a play, she wants nothing more than to play Charlotte. Her best friend Kelly is extremely supportive of George’s dream, and together they rehearse Charlotte’s lines, ready for auditions. I really wanted to see George succeed and perform his Charlotte in front of the audience, but Ms Udell had other ideas. She had no time for George’s audition, telling her to stop joking around. My heart went out to George, especially as Alex Gino oh so cleverly hammered in the ‘boy’ ‘boy’ ‘boy’ throughout the book, and I don’t know about anyone else but it gave me strongly mixed feelings towards these adults. One of which was George’s mum, I got so angry after more than one interaction that should not have gone the way that it did. I wanted to take George in my arms and hug her, telling her it’s okay. Because she clearly needed support from the people around her, and I’m glad Kelly was there to give it to her.
George is a middle grade book, therefore the language is not the most complex thing in the world, in fact I have seen some reviews where people have used the word ‘simple’. Why I am able to understand their opinions, I don’t personally agree. For me, it was the simplicity of the language and the innocence that it created that really impacted me. I was so intrigued about Alex Gino after finishing George that I went ahead and did a little bit of Googling. I found this article in which both author and book are discussed. What I really liked about this interview was that Alex Gino recommended more books with LGBTQ+ themes, which I will most certainly be checking out!
George is a brilliant book that everyone needs to read. Seriously, go out and read it right now.
Have you read George? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
– TO YOU, FOR WHEN YOU FELT DIFFERENT –
‘George’ by Alex Gino