Scott's Reviews > Why I Fight

Why I Fight by J. Adams Oaks
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Jan 27, 10

Read in January, 2010

I'm not a huge reader of YA books, but my older son really enjoyed this one, so I took the plunge. A much different adventure than reading the "Wimpy Kid" series that my younger son likes!

This is a book full of dysfunctional adults with dysfunctional relationships. It is the story of a boy who grows to be a man (or at least a little more grown up) in spite of his family and environment. None of the adults in Wyatt's life have sterling character - each is deeply flawed by greed, selfishness, addiction, or apathy. All are disconnected or marginalized in society. That Wyatt ends up fighting for cash in the back of seedy bars and closed businesses is totally unsurprising. The redeeming part of the story happens at the end, when Wyatt finally shows that he can think for himself and take responsibility for his life. However, the book shows him developing very few practical life skills, so I was left wondering how he was going to make it.

This was a good book to discuss with my son, to talk about how adults should act (pretty much the opposite of whatever is portrayed!). I was also interested to see why he likes this book so much. I think it has something to do with an affinity for the underdog. If I were a boy reading this book, I'd be rooting for Wyatt to make it. Also, thinking back to my teen years, I think this book captures some of the alienation and strangeness that I felt as I awoke to the foibles of the adults in my life.

The writing is not great. The story is compelling, however, for this age group and might interest boys who aren't much interested in reading at this time in their life.
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