My Name is Not Easy

by | Read by Nick Podehl, Amy Rubinate

Published by Brilliance Audio

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’s some kind of war going on. And instead of comforting words like tutu and maktak, there’s English. Speaking I'nupiaq—or any native language—is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey. Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. But he’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader—if he doesn’t self destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. Each has their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School—and in the wider world—will never be the same.

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AudioFile Review

My Name is Not Easy

Nick Podehl and Amy Rubinate share the narration of this National Book Award finalist, a fictional account—based on true events—of five Alaskans who attend a Catholic boarding school in the 1960s. The characters experience forced separation from family members and eradication of their language as they become illegal test subjects in a military experiment and suffer other injustices. Podehl's and Rubinate's dual narration of emotional adolescent voices creates a connection between today's listeners and these historical events, which are little known outside of Alaska. Since neither narrator is a native Alaskan, it’s perhaps to their credit that neither attempts an Inupiak, Yupik, or other Alaskan accent. Both add levity when warranted to break the gravitas of this important story. M.M.O. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine


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