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Wingshooters

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,641 ratings  ·  320 reviews
"Revoyr does a remarkable job of conveying [protagonist] Michelle’s lost innocence and fear through this accomplished story of family and the dangers of complacency in the face of questionable justice."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Revoyr's fourth novel is a coming-of-age saga in which racism cuts across loyalties between family and friends . . . Gripping and in
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Paperback, 250 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Akashic Books
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  1,641 ratings  ·  320 reviews


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Verena
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
At first I thought the author exaggerates the extent of the hatred, racism, and violence in 1974 in Deerhorn, Wisconsin. A town in the Deep South seemed a more appropriate location. But then I started thinking of some mid-westerners I have known even more recently than 1974 who have made me uncomfortable with their vitriolic racist views. If these people were living in a small all-white town, grew up fearful of anyone different from themselves; never left their comfort zone to travel; hated the ...more
Kristie
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow--what a powerful story! I am so glad I was led to this book by an independent book store owner. I would not have found this one otherwise.

At first I was confused and thought this book was supposed to be a memoir but later realized it was not and I am glad it was not. The drama in it was sometimes so intense that I had to put it down and take a break. There was so much prejudice and hate it was difficult to stomach but I do realize there are still people like that in this world. Sad but true.
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Tim
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it
"Wingshooters" is heavy-handed at times, but the depiction of a relationship between a 9-year-old mixed-race girl (Japanese mother, American father) and her grandfather saves the day easily.

There are other novels out there whose stories center around a child's growing realization of the intricacies and malignant power of racism ("To Kill a Mockingbird," anyone?) and Revoyr, whose works I'd never read before, certainly goes for it in a bid to join the club. She mostly succeeds.

Michelle LeBeau's f
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Jason Pettus
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

While it's easy to see what former Lambda Award winner Nina Revoyr was going for in Wingshooters, the latest from our friends at Akashic Books -- namely, to revisit the territory covered by Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, but this time from the perspective of 1970s Wisconsin instead of 1930s Alabama --
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William
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was very close to the conclusion of this book and wondering whether is should give it 4 or 5 stars. Within the last 2 or 3 pages I came to a very different conclusion.
The story is mostly about the relationship between the adolescent protagonist, a mixed race, half Japanese on her mothers side, Caucasian girl, and her paternal grandfather. She has been abandoned by her parents and left in her grandparents care. Her parents live in an all-white town in Wisconsin and the locals don't look too ki
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Colette
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
One of the blurbs I read about this book says it's a northern version of "To Kill A Mockingbird". As I read the book, I thought the author was trying to make as serious a statement on race relations. But the story left me wanting. All of the major characters felt like cardboard cutouts. Their actions were presented to the reader, with little attempt at showing the motivations for those actions. I understand that the main reason for that is the reader is supposed to be viewing people through the ...more
Eileen
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
At first glance, Wingshooter appears like yet another rendition of the banal plotline in which a young innocent girl comes to learn about race in the US. However, unlike the saccharine feel-good versions that lets white readers always imagine themselves the exception to white supremacist culture (e.g. "The secret life of bees", "The help"), Revoyr's young narrator, Mike, comes to learn of the power, depth and violence of racism, even in the person who loves her best.
Reyvor has created a compelli
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Marvin
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is one of those bestselling, well-reviewed books that I found disappointing, largely because it felt inauthentic. I could well be mistaken because the author's website says that she was "born . . . to a Japanese mother and a white American father, and grew up in Tokyo, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles." Except for the Los Angeles part, that pretty much matches the essential story of the 9-year-old narrator of this story. But the residents of the Wisconsin town in the early 1970s that she tells ab ...more
Judy
I had no idea how powerful this novel would be. Nina Revoyr's other novels have been set in California but this one takes place in a small Wisconsin town, though the Japanese angle is still represented by Michelle LeBeau, daughter of a white American father and a Japanese mother. She is the sole person of color in Deerhorn and is an outcast at school where she is tormented by her classmates.

When her father brought a Japanese wife home the family disapproved. Michelle's mother eventually abando
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Karen
Mar 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ladywritten, 2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick Schroeder
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was good. Read in two days, actually about 28 hours. Terrible how work interferes with the really important things in life. Quick, easy read but that doesn't mean it's an easy book. Michelle is a nine-year-old living in world full of contradictions, e.g. a caring and loving grandfather who is a bigot and the definition of provincial. I recently read Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife and that dealt with stories, public and private, and I think Wingshooters does that nicely also. What face (story) ...more
Khornberger
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In the 1970’s in the north, our country often represented a Caucasian demographic. As time progressed, African Americans migrated into the north, mainly to cities but eventually to suburbs and rural areas. The story of Wingshooters is narrated by Michelle, an eight year old child and chronicles the events that occurred after a black couple moves into a rural Wisconsin town. Mrs. Garrett, the wife takes a job in a local medical clinic as a nurse while Mr. Garrett begins as a substitute teacher at ...more
Amy M
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My first 5 star rating of 2012. This book simply blew me away. It's not one of those fast-moving, can't-put-down kinds of stories, but it is deeply emotional and powerful. Revoyr perfectly captures the voice of Michelle ("Mike"), a 9-year old Japanese-American girl living with her paternal grandparents in rural Wisconsin in the early 1970s. Although a racist & bigot, Michelle's grandfather loves her more than anything or anyone in the world, and she in turn adores him, despite recognizing that h ...more
Yasmin
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Literary Fiction Fans and Those Who Like Books Which Feature Biracial Characters
Recommended to Yasmin by: Beverly Jackson
I finished reading Wingshooters and while I enjoyed the storyline...good character development, pacing, plotting, I wish I would have heard some of the adult voices. Seems like so many books today...or at least the ones I'm reading are being told from a young, protagonist perspective. As such, there's lots of loose ends in the storylines. In Wingshooters I wanted to know what made a young, African-American married couple move to BumF&ck WI which was a rural, farming town and one where they would ...more
Anderson's Bookshops
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mary-ks-shelf
Mary K. says, "This book made me so mad, and even though I finished it two days ago, I'm still fuming and having a silent argument with the author. I grew up in a community similar to Deerhorn, WI, and at first I didn't remember such prejudice at that time. Then I started really thinking back, not to my parents, but to some of their friends and, sadly, some of my classmates. Then the other side of the argument takes over - this couldn't have happened in 1974 in the Midwest,.. could it? Any book ...more
Julie
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Well written, heartbreakingly believable and so very, very sad. Sadder still because we are witnessing daily that this kind of prejudice, hatred and fear are very much alive in America. This is the kind of book that make you want to go out and work for change.
Joan
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just unreal! I just could not put it down. My reviews are usually pretty short... But I'm not sure if this one will be. I was just so amazed. There were so many question marks in the writing. No, I'm not saying that that was annoying. It showed all of the thoughts/uncertainty/feelings running through Mikey's mind. What is her perception of all that happened? It shared with us how she interpreted things in her life. What a deep and moving book this is. I can't believe it's from 2011 ...more
Mike
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Revoyr is such a good, precise writer. I like that she does not try to explain everyone's motivations, "I don't know why he did that," comes up a few times in this book. A girl and her dog. Humans are more complex than dogs. I don't know if you can compare this to "To Kill a Mockingbird" without stretching it a bit but she's prolific compared to Harper Lee. Having now read several of Ms. Revoyr's novels, I'm looking forward to someday reading her autobiography, if I live that long.
Erin
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
This was a quick read but it tackles some big issues: racism, good vs. evil, and what we (society, parents, family) owe our children. Michelle (called Mike by her grandfather) is a Japanese-American child who is the only person of color living in a rural Wisconsin town. Her mother left long ago, and her father has abandoned her to his parents while he goes to search for her mother and then later, just never comes back. Her grandfather is highly respected by the other townspeople and loves Mike a ...more
Ann
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Told from the memory of Mike/Michelle, a bi-racial (Japanese and white) child who is abandoned by both of her parents and lives with her Grandparents in a small town in Michigan, this novel describes the racism that Michelle experiences, but also the racism experienced by the first two Black professionals to arrive in town. It's a really beautiful book, and the ending made me cry. I think it's technically young adult, but it is profound in its descriptions, and the narrator manages to bring an a ...more
Jennifer
Dec 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I would have given this book a 3.5...it was very well-written, and I thought the perspective...written by the adult Michelle, but through the eyes of her nine-year old self, was effective. I will not take time to discuss the horrible, racial prejudice here - it is something offensive all the way to the core of my being - I am thankful beyond belief that I was raised in a household that taught me the opposite way of thinking, believing and acting. The big takeaway for me in this book was how we a ...more
Charity
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
"And when you leave something you love you can never go back, for you have so damaged and altered both that thing and yourself that what you had before can never be recovered."

I'm not sure how I could possibly give this book anything less than 5 stars. It was one of the most touching books I've ever read. The author finds a way to put on display a tender, deep love a grandfather has for his granddaughter in the face of ugly racism, hatred and fear of the other. The idea that the two, his grandd
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Dave
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read this year! Too bad it's not out till March 2011. This powerful story of a mixed race girl being raised by her prejudiced grandparents in an all-white small town in Wisconsin in the 70's feels like a memoir. The narrative voice is absolutely perfect throughout. What a great book! I can't say enough about it.
Erika
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Girna
Recommended to Erika by: nora
Revyor has some wonderful passages...one about baseball that I had to read aloud to my non-fiction loving spouse, and many about dogs...and I love dogs, so there ya go. I am a sucker for kid protagonists, although this is interesting in that she clearly positions the narrator as an adult who is reviewing her childhood.
Lisa
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the third book I've read this year with racism against the Japanese. Until recently, it had not occurred to me what an awful time WWII would have been for the US-born Japanese. This book also draws parallels between racism of other kinds - black, Asian and the poor white. I enjoyed the insights but was saddened by the story itself.
Laura
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird, which is my all-time favorite book. It's a compelling story of a young girl who is half Japanese and who goes to live with her grandparents in a very small town in Wisconsin in the early 1970s. I can't wait to read other books by Revoyr.
Paula
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
A story of bigotry in a small town in Wisconsin. The story told from the point of view of a biracial 9 year old girl was an insightful look into the network of relationships that allow unforgivable acts of prejudice.
Randi
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This small book is mostly narrative (little dialogue), but the foreshadowing makes you want to turn page after page. Although the story is about an 11-year-old Japanese/American girl, the protagonist narrates the story as an adult, reflecting back on that year. Not to be missed.
Dawn Payne
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am not that good at writing reviews. I just write a review for my friends on Goodreads. So, friends, I couldn't put this book down and flew through it in two days. A great read! Makes you think, ponder, and wonder how far have we come?
Beth
Aug 23, 2015 added it
I love this author. Had a bit of To Kill a Mockingbird flavor.
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Nina Revoyr was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a white American father, and grew up in Tokyo, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. She is the author of four novels. Her first book, The Necessary Hunger , was described by Time magazine as "the kind of irresistible read you start on the subway at 6 p.m. on the way home from work and keep plowing through until you've turned the last page at 3 a.m. ...more

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