Sunday, 17 July 2016

This Side of Home by Renee Watson

This Side of Home is about twins Maya and Nikki whose suburb in Portland has gone from rough and tumble to up and coming, and their differing views on the situation. Raised in their predominantly black, lower class neighbourhood, they watch as gentrification means that their best friend can no longer afford to live in the house she grew up in, and the houses and businesses of other low-income families are turned in to shopping malls and coffee shops.

Nikki, who was often teased for acting like too much of a white girl, is pleased that she can now go shopping nearby and walk the streets at night without worrying for her safety, while Maya feels like her home is slipping away as she watches people she grew up with get displaced. Can the neighbourhood and the High School still celebrate the black population and history of the area? Or will it all be whitewashed in an attempt to raise the profile of the neighbourhood?

Maya seems to be constantly struggling to have people understand her point of view, which is that in order to overcome the negative culture of the neighbourhood and the school you don’t have to wipe out all of what she feels is ‘black culture’. Can she make herself be heard? And will she still achieve everything she wants to when she is being told that who she is is wrong?

A thought-provoking read which will make you take a new look at the neighbourhood you live in.

Posted by Sas

Catalogue link: This Side of Home

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