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My Name is Not Easy
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My Name is Not Easy

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,070 ratings  ·  215 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 (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 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 seemed as if no one subject was given more than a line or two...the cover states "an extraordinary
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
This was a part of history I had never really heard about, how the native Alaskan children were sent away to catholic schools and were given easier names, a new language and taken away from everything they knew. This is a true story written as fiction, the forward explains why it is written as such. The story is told by different people the main 2 being Eskimo boy Luke & young white motherless Chickie a young girl from a Scandinavian background, they tell a very different yet similar story b ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Tillie Torpey
Edwardson, D.D. (2013). My Name Is Not Easy. Skyscrape.

Theme/Topic: The experience of Luke, who goes through boarding school where his language is forbidden to speak

Critique (comments, observations, questions):
I really enjoy this book because it gives me deeper insight into the experience of natives throughout the U.S. and Canada of how their ways of life (religion and language) were forbidden. It makes me sad to hear this unfortunate mindset the governments had on indigenous people, especially
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
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.
Scarlett Sims
So there were things, especially about the audio of this book, that I wasn't crazy about. BUT, I think it's an important read, in that it bring to light issues that the reader likely doesn't know about in a way I hadn't seen since Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac. The American government has done more to Indians than just taking their land, and they've done it recently.
I had heard good things about this book's accuracy in its portrayal of Native people, but if I hadn't, I would have known it was l
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
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
Raegan Young
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
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.
Summary: Luke and his two younger brothers are heading off to boarding school. When they get there his youngest brother is taken away because he is to young and they do not get to see him again. The brothers try to find their place in a school divided between Native Americans and Eskimos. Soon they find there groove and things are going well. Until Bunna dies in a plane crash going home. Now Luke is the only brother there. The students all start to learn they are not so different from one anothe ...more
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
Nellie Rulland
I am an Iñupiaq, living in Barrow, Alaska. I am currently a Senior in high school. I lived in Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska most of my life. I connected with this book in alot of ways. First of all, just as the people in this book went to boarding school, I also went to boarding school. I have personally experienced a lot of things that happened to the characters in the book. Even though this is a novel, it was more interesting to me because I knew that the things that the author wrote about really hap ...more
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
This National Book Award nominee is a compelling piece of historical fiction. Beautifully and heartfully written. The characters voices are strong and true. Bravo!
Tali Izhaky
This is by far the best book I've read for a while. I especially like how Edwardson chooses to have different parts of the book in the perspective of different characters. There is no set story line or plot however there are a few different problems that emerge throughout the story. At first I was a little worried that this book would be Catholic based and super religous but oh, was I proven wrong. The majority of the story is how awful the kids felt in this private Catholic school.
Over all a g
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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 about Debby Dahl Edwardson...
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