Saturday, February 16, 2013
Book ~ "Out of Nowhere" (2013) Maria Padian
Enniston has become a “secondary migration” location for Somali refugees, who are seeking a better life after their country was destroyed by war - they can no longer go home. Tom hasn’t thought much about his Somali classmates until four of them join the soccer team, including Saeed. He comes out of nowhere on the field to make impossible shots and suddenly the team is winning, dominating even; but when Saeed’s eligibility is questioned and Tom screws up in a big way, he’s left to grapple with a culture he doesn’t understand and take responsibility for his actions. Saeed and his family came out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly. And Tom may find himself going nowhere, too, if he doesn’t start trying to get somewhere.
This book is an interesting portrayal of two different cultures trying to live together (the Somalis are Muslim and some barely speak English whereas a lot in the town are Catholic). The author handled it well.
Tom is a senior in high school and captain of his school's soccer team. He's dating Cherisse who is popular but not excelling in school. They live in a white bread town in Maine where in the last few years Somalis refugees have been relocated.
Tom is friends with Donny who just wants to get drunk and stoned all the time. A prank gets them in trouble and Tom has to do 100 community hours as his punishment. He does this at a centre that helps Somali kids with their homework and learn English.
The soccer team has a rivalry with another school and was mediocre until some Somali kids joined ... they now have a chance of winning the state's championship. Tom becomes friends with Saeed. Unlike some in the town, Tom wants to help the Somalis and is interested in learning more about their culture.
I enjoyed this book a lot ... it's different from what I usually read so I'm glad I came across it. It is well-paced and kept me interested. It is written in first person in Tom's voice. Though Tom is a senior in high school, I didn't find it too immature for me. I work with and have worked with Muslims and it was interesting to learn more about their culture as Tom did (I couldn't do Ramadan ... I don't do fasting well).
The characters are well-defined. Tom is a nice guy. He has nothing against the Somalis; in fact, he thinks they should be given more help and guidance. Cherisse is such a nasty mean girl. Saeed is happy to be in America and reunited with is family after living through some dangerous experiences back home.
As a head's up, the language is mature at times.
I recommend this book.