He couldn’t listen to music or talk on the phone without her jumping all over him about what they listened to up in Maine, or how they talked up in Maine, or how he better not go up to Maine and start acting ghetto.
Anthony’s mother didn’t even know where it was until he’d shown it to her on a map, but that still didn’t stop her from acting like she was born there.
Anthony “Ant” Jones has never been outside his rough East Cleveland neighborhood when he’s given a scholarship to Belton Academy, an elite prep school in Maine. But at Belton things are far from perfect. Everyone calls him “Tony,” assumes he’s from Brooklyn, expects him to play basketball, and yet acts shocked when he fights back.
As Anthony tries to adapt to a world that will never fully accept him, he’s in for a rude awakening: Home is becoming a place where he no longer belongs.
Black Boy White School (BBWS) doesn’t have the most imaginative name, but it certainly gets to the point. The book follows Anthony (Ant) Jones as he is accepted in a mostly all white prep school in Maine. BBWS doesn’t skirt the tough issues as BBWS addresses death, fear, and racism all in a very straightforward manner. Issues such as KKK like groups, people using the N word, and different ways in dealing with being a minority are just some of the topics addressed in BBWS.
That said, this book is not just about racism, it is about finding yourself among a changing environment. And in this aspect Walker does a fantastic job by creating a well crafted and dynamic protagonist in Ant. Readers really get to see Ants emotions and the changes he experiences in each of his trips home. Each of these trips act as a nice barometer for Ant’s development, and to me it was each of these check points that really made the book exceptional.
Of course Ant wasn’t the only well written character, Floyd and George were also interesting characters that played pivotal roles in the story. Each acted as strong supporting characters that helped establish each of Ant’s different “faces”. That said, the only complaint I had about them was that I wanted each of them to have larger roles.
All in all Black Boy White School was a good book. It had a strong protagonist, great transitions that demonstrate the evolution of Ant, and strong well formed themes. Of course besides all of this the book is just plain well written. This is a not a happy go lucky book, but definitely something I’d recommend.
8.5 out of 10
Published: January 3, 2012