Monday, February 6, 2012

Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am: By Peter Lerangis and Harry Mazer



Ben lives a charmed life—effortlessly landing the lead in the high school musical, dating the prettiest girl in school. When he decides to enlist in the army, no one thinks he’ll be in real danger. But his decision has devastating consequences: His convoy gets caught in an explosion, and Ben ends up in a coma for two months. When he wakes up, he doesn’t know where he is—or remember anything about his old life. His family and friends mourn what they see as a loss, but Ben perseveres.


Before having read this I had thought that only Pete Hautman could write with the kind of punch and pizzazz in the limited number of pages that Peter Lerangis and Harry Mazer demonstrate in Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am.

Too be honest that’s what I found so gripping about Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am, the sensational writing ability exhibited in each page. Every major character, from Ben to Chris feels real and tangible, as if the very next moment one of these characters is going to walk in your front door and say hello. Mazer and Lerangis do a terrific job giving Chris and his disabilities the respect and attention needed to really bring out the innocence of his character, furthering the other characters in ways that most other books are unable to do.

That said, even more striking is Mazer and Lerangis’s ability to craft the progression and thought processes of Ben before, during, and after the event. Readers truly get to experience the struggle and frustration that Ben feels from his injuries.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that I couldn’t know more. I wanted to know more about Ben’s parents, more about Nico, more about Ben and his progression, will he fully remember, live a normal life, go to college? All of these things and more.

And yet, it’s better this way. Mazer and Lerangis meant for this to be merely a snapshot into the world of one injured soldier and his life. It is not meant to go on forever, it does not end with Ben becoming President of the United States or some other implausible ending. Instead, it marks a period of time in which Ben struggles for recognition, It shows the ripples that effect his family and friends, and most important it shows that just because you reach the last page, the story does not end.

Mazer and Lerangis wrote it this way for a purpose, and while it makes me sad not to know more, they have done a fantastic job. Because of this snapshot approach everything seems more real. The pains more vivid, the struggles harsher, and the victories all the more glorious. All in all a fantastic book that I’d easily recommend to someone looking for a quick and touching read.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Published: February 7, 2012

Price: $15.99

1 comment:

  1. Wow - That is a great review! I want to go and get a copy and read for myself.It seems every war takes it toll on those who are brave enough to fight. Kudos to you for bringing a piece of the effect of war to young people through your well chosen words and meaningful characters.