Tangerine

When Paul Fisher and his family relocate to Florida he is suddenly plagued by flashbacks of his early childhood. Always believing he had become legally blind from staring at a solar eclipse, his fragmented memories suggest his brother Eric had something to do with his condition. As the story unfolds, The Fisher family is revealed to be completely dysfunctional. Dad is consumed with Eric’s football career, and mom keeps busy with their new house problems. Paul gets involved with some rough kids from his soccer team, while golden boy Eric turns out to be an indisputable psychopath.

The book deals with so much – bullies, peer pressure, the ugly side of sports, violent behavior, group and family loyalties, disabilities, labeling, and the repercussions of lies. Perhaps the school outcasts, or those who carry awful family secrets will benefit from this read, as they may feel vindicated. But, the situations in this book are disturbing. Lightening kills a star football player, another character dies after being assaulted, and there are other violent acts. And, when the reader finally learns how Paul was blinded, it is hideous to read. The book is skillfully written, and does show the fruit of immoral behavior, but is way too harsh for a kid. Tangerine happens to be on our school district’s required read list.

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