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My Name is Not Easy

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  919 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Luke knows his I'nupiaq name is full of sounds white people can't say. He knows he'll have to leave it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles from their Arctic village. At Sacred Heart School things are different. Instead of family, there are students - Eskimo, Indian, White - who line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Skyscape
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Vicarious by Paula StokesThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieSecrets of the Realm by Bev StoutCinder by Marissa MeyerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Diversity in Young Adult and Middle Grade
256th out of 771 books — 433 voters
Gloss by Marilyn KayeWhat We Hide by Marthe JocelynPurple Daze by Sherry ShahanThe Golden Day by Ursula DubosarskyBad Tickets by Kathleen O'Dell
YA set in the 1960s
24th out of 61 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,281)
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Tara
I am sorry to report that I did not like this book. It is a shame, because the underlying real-life events are fascinating and unique, and there are a lot of really important issues to be dealt with in this arena. But this book just didn't get there. The characters are unbelievable and don't talk or think like children. I didn't understand the motivation for almost ANY of their actions, so there were a number of plot points and choices that just came out of nowhere. The switching between perspec ...more
Lena Hillbrand
I have wildly mixed feelings on this book.

First of all, audiobook readers: The male reader rocks.

I liked the premise of this book a lot, and loved all the historical aspects. I learned a lot, especially in the author's note, where she tells which events in the book (most of the important ones) were based on reality. I liked how the novel showed some of the discrimination that natives in Alaska faced, both the Native Americans and Eskimos.

However, I'd be hard-pressed to find a plot in this book.
...more
Librarymouse
I was quite happy when I found this book, as this is a subject that really interests me! I've read historical accounts, so I was excited to find a novel.

As for the book itself, I enjoyed it. I'm not normally a fan of the each-chapter-is-told-by-a-different-character trope, but I feel that for the most part, it worked here. I do wish the characters' voices had been a little more distinct from each other; often, I felt that if I hadn't seen the name at the start of the chapter, I wouldn't have kn
...more
Pamela
When first assigned this book for class, I thought it was about a girl trying to combat slurs on her reputation--"easy" in the sense of "Easy A." Oops.

One of the many narrators/main-ish characters in the book says that his name is not easy for English-speakers to pronounce, hence the title. Aha.

I'm following Goodreads' definition of stars here, in that one star is "didn't like it." I didn't hate it. I don't disagree with what Edwardson has to say--it's an important story that needs to be told.
...more
Wendy
It isn't surprising that this book was up for the National Book Award, and I expect to see it at Scott O'Dell time, too. The story is fascinating, giving us just enough of the life back on the tundra to tantalize, and never overexplaining to its readers the things that can be deducted. (One reviewer below complains because the author doesn't explain the difference between Indians and "Eskimos" [who are in conflict with each other at the boarding school], which the reviewer feels is particularly ...more
Erika
As someone who lives in rural Alaska, I can say that Debby Dahl Edwardson has accomplished a great feat with this novel: she has written with a voice that sounds exactly like the way people in rural Alaska talk. The book is extraordinary for other reasons, but the attention that she pays to the small details of how characters talk made this an immediate winner. One of the most accurate books about Alaska that I have ever read.
Ann Marie
once again a book has opened my eyes to issues never introduced...I had no idea children in Alaska were sent away from their parents for school starting at the age of 7...how on earth did their mothers cope...
this story was difficult to get into...there were too many names - too many directions coming in at the same time...I never felt as a reader that I was in the story or watching it happen...it seemed as if no one subject was given more than a line or two...the cover states "an extraordinary
...more
Monica!
It is, perhaps, a negative quirk in my personality that I have no trouble writing for hours about books I hated, but when it comes to books I loved I find myself stalling over reviews.

I really, really liked My Name is not Easy. Debby Dahl Edwardson is clearly just *wildly* in love with her adopted homeland, and it shines through on every page—I still do not have a particular desire to wander the wilds of northern Alaska, but if any book was going to convince me it was a good idea, this would be
...more
Jocelyn
Mar 19, 2012 Jocelyn marked it as to-read
Shelves: ya, next, liberation
"Award-winning Barrow author caught in squeeze between bookstores, Amazon"
Hannah Heimbuch | The Arctic Sounder | Mar 18, 2012

Barrow author Debby Dahl Edwardson joined an elite group last year when her youth novel, “My Name Is Not Easy,” was named a finalist for the National Book Award. Just a few short months afterwards, she finds herself a bystander as her book is caught in the push-pull of corporate competition.
Barnes & Noble announced recently it would no longer stock the book in its stor
...more
Christy Rosso
Christy Rosso
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edwardson, D. (2011). My name is not easy. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Marshall Cavendish.
Format: Print
Selection process: NoveList
http://web.ebscohost.com
Luke Aaluk states: “My name is not easy” (Edwardson, p. 3, 2011). As an Ińupiaq Luke knows that his true name could not be pronounced by others outside of his Alaskan Native tribe, and readers never learn it in this story. Luke and his younger brothers Bunna and Isaac leave their Alaskan village to attend Sacred Hear
...more
Kelly
I made it roughly 100 pages before deciding it wasn't going to work.

So the set up is this: 1960s Alaska, a cast of Eskimos and Indians and White people in a Catholic boarding school. The tension is the racial inequality, the bringing together of so many back issues into one place. The problem, though, is in 100 pages, I'm so removed from the characters. I don't know who they are. As soon as I have a slight grasp, I'm thrown a new one. Add to that a year happens within these 100 pages, and I've
...more
H
This is the episodic story of several children in an Alaskan boarding school in the early 1960's. Some "indian" some "eskimo" and some white. Though surrounded by efforts to eradicate their culture, the children somehow hold on, though not without losing some of themselves.

Though I found this book well-written and compelling, I felt like my own knowledge of the history of Indian schools and the way native children were yanked out of their families to be "adopted" helped me understand the narrati
...more
Jennifer
Interesting but disjointed tale of Inupiaq brothers sent to a Catholic school hundreds of miles from their home.

Although the book is based on mostly factual events, I felt as if there were too many things crammed into the book when just one or two of them would've been effective in telling the story. Earthquakes, tsunamis, multiple deaths, and radiation are just a few of the things that happen to the characters.

I think that if the author had focused on just a few characters (instead of writing i
...more
Rachel
This book is about a boy named Luke and his two brothers who are sent to boarding school. He leaves behind his family and also change his real name because it is too difficult for people to pronounce. At the boarding school the boys learn that between the races at their school there are a lot of divisions. The students all begin to realize that they live together and become a new family. The kids go through many hard times and realize that they all need eachother through these difficult times wi ...more
Madison Snyder
"My Name Is Not Easy", a story told from 3 different perspectives, primarily and beginning with Luke, a fairly happy child, whom is forced to move to Sacred Heart Boarding School with his brothers, Bunna & Isaac, as there are no schools around past the elementary level. Though he is not the only one (as many are forced onto a plane to this place on the other side of their home state, Alaska), he feels alone without the company of his family. The day does get worse though, when the school sta ...more
Claudia Hall
This book is the story of three Eskimo brothers from Alaska who are told that they need to go to school far away from home. The brothers hop on this plane and go to school at Scared Heart. One of the brothers is to young to go to school and gets taken away from the school and put into a foster care type system. The two other brother manage to survive their way through a strange new place where there is a divide between the Eskimos, the Native Americans and the Whites. The story jumps around a bi ...more
Sydney
Apr 03, 2014 Sydney rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like history, everyone else
Recommended to Sydney by: My teacher
Shelves: made-me-think
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Samantha Simmons
Luke, Chickie, Sonny, Amiq and Donna are students at Sacred Heart School that all stem from different backgrounds. Luke is the main character in the story that goes to school with his two younger brothers and is determined to look after them. This story tells the tale of all these students as they go through school and many hardships including an abusive priest and scientific testing on them. AT the end, the discover they have found a family at the school that that became more than they ever cou ...more
Eden
Luke knows that white people can't say his I'nupiaq name. And he knows that once he and his brothers are sent to boarding school, he'll have to leave his name behind. Things are different at Sacred Heart - there are Indians, Eskimos, and White people. The language spoken is English, and no Native languages are allowed. Luke, like everyone else, is just doing their best to survive.

What can I say about this book? Sometimes it's sad, sometimes it makes you smile, and sometimes it is just plain hea
...more
mstan
This was a really messy, chopped up narrative with about half a dozen teenagers' voices mixed up with one another's. It seemed as though the writer had wanted to put everyone whose stories she'd been inspired by into this book, and in the end, one felt for none of these hastily drawn sketches. I didn't really learn much about the Eskimos vs. Indians issue either, so this is really closer to a 1.5-star read.
Alyse Erickson
Edwardson, D., & Ferrari, A. (2011). My name is not easy. New York: Marshall Cavendish. Print.

My Name is Not Easy starts off with Luke, Bunna, and Isaac, three Eskimo brothers, leaving for a Catholic school called Sacred Heart. When they get there, one of the priests takes Isaac away from the brothers and sends him to live in Texas on the grounds that Isaac is apparently 'too young' to go to Sacred Heart. Luke and Bunna arrive when the other kids are having lunch and this other Native Americ
...more
Nicol
This story is told from multiple POVs throughout a couple of years. The stories are like diary enteries, short and outlining a few events that happened in the 1960's when indigenous peoples in Alaska were sent to boarding schools. Yes, the storyline can be choppy and the ending is kind of a fairy tale one but Edwardson drew me and I was completely involved in each character - and her words can be quite poetic. I think this is a hard story to tell, where does one start? Edwardson invites the read ...more
Alison
This National Book Award nominee is a compelling piece of historical fiction. Beautifully and heartfully written. The characters voices are strong and true. Bravo!
Klidell
This is a book for older children but as a adult I really enjoyed it. I did cheat and listen to the audio book rather than read it and enjoyed the local intonation. This is about native children from Alaska that, like many native children across North America, were forced to attend boarding school. These schools were usually run by the Roman Catholic church who saw their main mission to erase their native culture and replace it with western and Catholic mores. While this is fiction, there is rea ...more
Gina Whitlock
This was loosely based on a true story. Eskimo children were forced to go to schools hundred of miles away in the 1960's. Two brothers attend this Catholic boarding school divided among Eskimo, Indian and white racial lines. You've got the abusive father, the sweet nun and a variety of children learning to make their way together. The story touched on the factual earthquake and tsunami in the 1960s, plus radium experiments done on some of the Eskimos where researchers tried to learn what charact ...more
Lola Green
Started: 12/15/2015
Ended: 12/17/2014

This book was alright, a quick read that isnt very deep. it takes palce over the course of li, e 5 years, but of you arent looking at the dates it makes you very confused. Because it took llace over such a long time in a few ammount of pages, I didnt get to understand the characters very much. The authkr never explained the difference between indians and Eskimos. I thought the whole book never went too deep into the characters motivations. I felt like things j
...more
Chrisann Justice
I really should re-read this before reviewing as it's been several years since I read it. I went several years without updating my Goodreads account though and now I'm using it with my students and want them to see examples of how it can be used to share with other readers. I know I really loved this book. I felt very connected with the characters. I found it shocking to know that most of the experiences related did in fact happen to people I know here on the North Slope. I'm a big fan of memoir ...more
Cassy
My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson is a very depressing, but at the same time touching, book.

Though the first character we see is Luke (and, generally, I would consider him the main character. After all, the book is named for him) the point of view shifts all over the place. We go from first, to third limited, to third omnicient, sometimes in the same chapter. Really, I don't think that this did much to add to the book. If anything, it was incredibly confusing because one second, you we
...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin Sterling
Wow, this is a pretty powerful book about a topic that I knew very little about (and is not often read about in history books): boarding schools for Native Alaskans in the 1960s. Before there was a law requiring Alaska to provide schools in every small town, children as young as 6 and 7 were sent to boarding schools far away. The book begins with 3 Eskimo brothers who are sent to a Catholic boarding school, where they meet the harsh Father Mullen, the young and forgiving Father Flanagan, the ste ...more
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1044122
My name is Debby and I am a writer. I write stories for young people.

If you haven't seen me, it's because I live far far away and do, indeed, write from the top of the world: Barrow, Alaska, to be exact, the northernmost community on the North American Continent.

I've lived here pretty much all of my adult life—thirty years (don’t do the math!) and this place and its people have shaped who I am as
...more
More about Debby Dahl Edwardson...
Blessing's Bead Whale Snow Whale Snow/Uqsruagnaq (English - Inupiaq Bilingual Edition) Whale Snow/Uqsruagnaq (English - Inupiaq Bilingual Edition)

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