16.02.2023 - Im Rahmen der Unterrichtsreihe "American Dream" im Leistungskurs Englisch unseres Beruflichen Gymnasiums setzten sich die Schülerinnen und Schüler mit dem Buch „All American Boys“ auseinander. Daraus entstanden ist unter anderem eine Buchempfehlung einer Schülerin der GY12A:
Oh, wait a minute…you are currently looking for a thrilling novel to read? I got you! Let me tell you something about the novel “All American Boys”.
This book was published in 2015 by two American authors, Brendan Kiely, and Jason Reynolds. It addresses especially young people and teenagers because of its high school setting but the message behind the book appeals to the general public. The book tells the story of two US American teenage boys, the white boy Quinn Collins, and the black boy Rashad Butler, who are living a similar and somehow typical life consisting of family issues, school drama, and problems with girls. Both live in the same city, Springfield, Illinois, and attend Springfield High School, but they do not really know each other. The dialogues are mostly in colloquial language and written from their perspective. Moreover, the language is full of youth slang, which makes it even funnier to read. The structure of the chapter is well-chosen and clearly set up: one week in the life of the two characters is described in 7 Chapters “Monday, Tuesday, etc.). The level of English is well-adapted to German students' skills as it is easy to understand because of the vast amount of colloquial language. Due to a racial incident, which happens to Rashad by a police officer, their paths intersect and suddenly everything changes.
It is Friday evening, which means they will go to a party with their friends and flirt with some girls. Rashad is on his way to grab some snacks from a local store but gets involved in a suspicious crime although being completely innocent. Suddenly a white police officer brutally arrests him and beats him down on the ground. The next morning Rashad wakes up in hospital. The scene was seen by someone else, the boy from his school, Quinn Collins, who is in a close friendship with the white officer and is confused about the incident. The students at the high school are separated by their different opinions. Quinn is under pressure because as a witness of this brutal incident, his feelings are divided between loyalty to his close friend, the police officer, who has been a role model for him, and the moral obligatich to speak up against injustice. The whole town of Springfield is indignant and the media plays a huge role in this racial case. Quinn is supposed to represent the “All-American Boy” by his looks, mentality and personality but at the end of the book, you will see, how the “All-American Boy” is really supposed to be like.
The story is a reminder of how wide-ranging police brutality really is and how US-American society is bitterly divided by racial tension. Black History and the Black Power Movement play an important role till nowadays and a lot of black activists, e.g. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks etc. fought in the past for equal rights and social recognition. Racial prejudices and stereotypes still exist and this story mirrors these social issues.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” is a significant quote in the novel, which fits to the story well. It encourages people to fight against injustice and speak up for the victims.
If you are interested in critical, contemporary social themes, I am sure you will like the novel.
I hope you will enjoy reading it!
Text: Petra Balje, GY12a
Bild: Isabel Fries, GY12a