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Apple: Skin to the Core

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Apple: Skin to the Core, is a YA memoir-in-verse. Eric Gansworth tells the story of his life, of an Onondaga family living among Tuscaroras, and of Native people in America, including the damaging legacy of government boarding schools—and in doing so grapples with the slur common in Native communities, for someone “red on the outside, white on the inside,” and reclaims it.
Published October 6th 2020 by Levine Querido
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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sarah xoxo
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is my third book written in verse so far this year, and the format has yet to disappoint me!

Apple: Skin to the Core is a memoir recounting the author's experiences, identity and family history in an engaging and often beautiful way. As a white Australian, I was ignorant to many aspects of Native American culture and history. Even the significance of the title and cover were unbeknownst to be when I began, signifying a slur used in Native communities for someone who is "red on the outside,
Laurie  Anderson
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning, powerful, breathtaking. Make room on your shelf because you’re going to want a copy of your own.
Apple by Eric Gansworth is a memoir on growing up into Native American culture and dealing with the racism that comes with it. It's written in verse which I love books that are written that way but since this was an audiobook, I wasn't really able to experience it the way it was written. I think I would have preferred reading this rather than listening but that's okay. Gansworth narrates his own book which puts a personal touch on it. Overall, I liked this and thought it was eye-opening as well ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this manuscript (Gansworth's memoir in words and pictures--a book in verse). I genuinely don't think my life will ever be the same. This is one of the best books I've ever read.
Vicky Again
I enjoyed this a lot! The author-narrated audiobook was great (I listened at 1.5-1.75x speed) and I really enjoyed Gansworth's free verse.

Content Warnings: (view spoiler)
Sarah Prendergast (lifeandbookswithme)
Apple is a memoir written in the format of verse poetry. It follows Eric as he traces his family’s heritage through generations. From recounting his grandfather’s experiences at a boarding school for Indigenous peoples they were forced to attend by the government to Eric’s poverty growing up, the reader gets a glimpse into the lasting impact colonialism has left on the First Nations people. This work reflects on the suffering endured by the Indigenous peoples and how they have worked to overcome ...more
Hmm. I really love Eric Gansworth's YA fiction, so I was excited to pick up his memoir in verse. I'm maybe not sure who the audience here is? It's published as a YA memoir but to me, I feel like it would have more appeal to older people who can relate more directly to Gansworth's love of the Beatles? There are a lot of Beatles references woven throughout this book. But the Beatles aren't exactly obscure?

Also like, poetry isn't super my thing but this didn't exactly feel like poems to me, for the
"..but I am hypnotized by this gathering of these dead presidents who wiped out most of my ancestors..."

This is my first memoir written in verse and I have to say that I enjoyed how it was laid out. I love the references to the Beatles, superheroes and pop culture aspects of his childhood that were interwoven with historical facts of the oppressive situations the Onondaga faced. However I wish I would have read this instead of listened to it. The narration is choppy and I felt it took away from
Melitta Jackson
Thank you to both Levine Querido Publishing for an Advanced Readers Copy and Libro FM for an Advanced Listeners Copy of this book.

I really enjoyed this.

Despite being from a different generation, Indigenous Entity and geographic location, I found myself relating to the experiences Gansworth talks about in this memoir.

From Commod mac and cheese (despite having the funds to not have to choose this dish, we do so out of nostalgia) to calling a reservation home but still being treated as an "outside
Annmarie Sheahan
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A powerful memoir told in a structure that wow'ed me. Sure, memoir in verse is nothing new these days, but I really appreciated Gansworth's experimentation with form--his choice to parallel the evolution of the Beatles was really moving for me as a reader (and a Beatles lover). Honestly, I am a bit surprised that his memoir is being marketed as YA. It seems to be far more suited for NA or adult readers. Nevertheless, this is an important read for any age who chooses to pick it up.

"We can agree t
I don't see this as being a YA memoir and for my students, it would be a hard sell. There's nothing particularly memorable about the choice to write in verse. Actually I don't think the verse does Gansworth's memoir justice at all and would have likely been more comfortable reading it narratively (or even as a graphic novel).

Likewise, Gansworth's choices in iconic moments of his life to highlight aren't told in a particularly riveting way, instead the historical perspective that he provides abo
I must eventually get my own copy of this book. I listened to Apple: Skin to the Core on audiobook and it's narrated by the author and a devastatingly beautiful listen. But I do want to see the layout of the poetry and the illustrations I've heard are interspersed throughout the story.

This story is so important and heart achingly beautiful. A must read.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2020
This was so good. I had to listen to it slowly as it's not always the happiest read and dealt with family issues, and I have my own family issues I don't want to deal with/face. But wow. What a book.

Also, I really like poetry when it's read to me, and I don't read it to myself.
Abby Johnson
So, so good. In a collection of poems and essays, Eric Gansworth reflects on his childhood, the lives of his ancestors, and Native life in America. This is definitely thoughtful and poignant reading that's a perfect choice for Native American Heritage Month or any time of year.
Krisette Spangler
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I really enjoyed this memoir written entirely in poems. It was eye opening and interesting to view history through the eyes of a Native American. I was also very pleased that it didn't contain sexual content and very little bad language.
Rich in Color
Eric Gansworth explores identity along with Indigenous history of North America in general and that of his family and his personal history in particular. He explains that this story may not be for you, but he has chosen to speak. Readers are given the opportunity to participate in the story and learn or to close our eyes and ears. Gansworth doesn’t appear to be speaking to anyone specifically, but is choosing not to be silent. The publishing company is marketing this book to young adults and I’m ...more
Natalie (readswithnatalieb)
Wow, this was such a powerful audiobook. Very rarely do I want a physical copy after I listen to a book, but Apple: Skin to the Core, has already been added to my wish list.

This is a memoir written in verse, which I didn’t know going into it. After the first 20 minutes or so, I stopped everything I was doing to give my full attention to what I was hearing. I typically multitask while listening to audiobooks, like laundry or taking my dog for a walk or chores around the house, but for this story
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

The word “apple” is a slur to Natives, a term meaning red on the outside, white on the inside. In this book, Eric Gainsworth tells his experience and his family's experience as members of the Onondaga tribe. A Beatles fan, he matches each section of this poetic memoir up to one of their albums.

I listened to the audiobook, read by the author. I would recommend the audiobook, as you can hear exactly how he means h
Chris G.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Usually, when I read an EARC to review, I can be confident that my reading experience is similar enough to that of a person seeing the finished work to be able to give an accurate opinion. That’s not the case with Eric Gansworth’s Apple, which is a sophisticated set of poems and memories set within the frame of the albums released by the Beatles. Beginning with the boarding school experiences of three out of four of his grandparents, Gansworth shows the complexities of being part of the Onandaga ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wouldn't typically rate a memoir, but this one was so well done that I had to make an exception. I listened to this on audiobook, and I really enjoyed it as it is read by the author. This is also written in verse! I really liked the structuring, and the section at the end where the author spoke about crafting the structure and why he wrote things the way he did. I don't even like The Beatles, but it wasn't grating to hear the author speak about their importance to him throughout his life. Usua ...more
Jess Witkins
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous and unique writing style. Apple: Skin to the Core is a lyric memoir, reading like the sweetest, most insider liner notes of an album. In fact, if you check out the back of the book, the author shares how he loved reading liner notes and modeled the book after The Beatles early record label, Apple. The term "apple" also has derogatory connotations to it for native peoples meaning "red on the outside and white inside." Using this thread of Apple as art and apple as identity, Gansworth tak ...more
Daina (Dai2DaiReader)
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the best memoir-in-verse I have read yet.  There is so much intention, purpose and meaning behind the author’s words.  He talks about the 400 government-sponsored Indian boarding schools that existed for the sole purpose of wiping out all traces of indigenous culture.  If your hair was too long, it was cut.  If your name was too traditional, it was changed.  Kids were in these schools for five years in order to be modified, to be less Indian, to forget. 
I felt the weight of this book bu
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read. I wasn't aware of "apple" as a slur. Certainly was enlightening. I think someone should do one on "coconut" as well. I know it's a slur on a particular ethnic or racial background, but not sure how... May just be a British issue, don't know. I've known several Native Americans over my lifetime and had actually never given their ethnicity any thought. None ever mentioned this issue, and it is an interesting one. Shameful how folks can label others so thoughtlessly and with such ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was so excited to read this after getting an ARC at the ALA conference a couple of weeks ago, and it did not disappoint. The poetry is brilliant, and I love all of the experiments Gansworth does with form (included writing poems that mirror the syllable count, rhythm, and rhyme of Beatles' songs.) It's marketed as young adult, and I can definitely see high school (and maybe some middle school) students digging this, but certainly it also is more than appropriate for adults who love memoirs and ...more
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to LibroFM and the publisher

Wow! This book was incredible. The writing is so lyrical and poignant. The audio version is read by the author and it is absolutely captivating to listen to. I will definitely need to pick up a hard copy of this book so I can see the illustrations as I read. This is definitely the kind of book that needs another read through!

Gansworth tells such a captivating story of his life, his family, and what it can be like to be from a culture that has been systemati
Jennifer Mcniece
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Eric Gansworth is a true artist whose interests cross many mediums. This memoir includes a series of poems that tell the story of his own life and that of his family. As a Native American, Gansworth chronicles the push and pull between the desire to leave the reservation and all of its difficulties with the desire to hold on to cultural traditions before it is too late, especially within a broader American culture that has often worked to erase them. ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was only a few pages into Eric Gansworth’s Apple: Skin to the Core when I realized how important it was that I read this book, which bursts open a derogatory label to reveal the author’s Indigenous experience. From Gansworth’s reality—living in poverty on a reservation, an Onondaga among Tuscaroras—to the near erasure of his culture via boarding schools only two generations prior, this memoir in verse holds a magnifying glass to white supremacy in action. Stylishly rendered to mirror the evolu ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth is a memoir written in verse and I had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook, narrated by the author. We follow Gansworth from childhood into adulthood and the experiences of his Ononadaga family. Gansworth shares that this book was not written to educate others, but for Indigenous Peoples' stories to be represented, which is so powerful. This book was so well written and I really appreciated that it was narrated by the author as it added so much em ...more
Sharyn L.
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, netgalley
Apple:(Skin to the Core) is that rare book that you cannot speed read or speed-listen to. Each segment, told in such precise language, needs to be slowly digested to get an understanding of the author's life. I wanted to read this book because I know so little about lives of contemporary Native Americans. Each part lets the reader in on the author's personal experiences.

I thing this would be an excellent book to read in high school. Each vignette brings an opportunity for discussion.

My only crit
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley I was able to listen to this book and I appreciate that the author was the narrator. There was a quiet elegance about this book presented in the gently rolling poems. I found that towards the end of the book, the poems seemed to take on a different and perhaps greater rhythm. I am grateful for the glimpse of what growing up on a Tuscarora Reservation must have been like and the greater struggle to maintain your identity in a world that strives to erase it. This is a book that ...more
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Gansworth is an enrolled citizen of the Onondaga Nation; however, he grew up in the Tuscarora Nation as a descendant of one of two Onondaga women present among the Tuscarora at the foundation of the nation in the 18th century. Gansworth originally qualified in electroencephalography, considered a profession useful to his nation; however, he went on to study literature and to continue a lifelong in ...more

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