The title of this debut novel refers to the main character and narrator, twelve year old Dave Greenfeld. Dave is the son of hippie-like parents, the older brother of a boy who is not autistic but hasn’t said a word for years, and the grandson of a man who left Germany at the beginning of the Holocaust and has felt guilty ever since for the relatives he left behind. Dave’s parents are liberal thinkers who feel it would be advantageous for him to attend public school where the majority of the students are Black or Hispanic. Dave has blond curly hair and fair skin, so he is an easy target for other students. However, life takes an upward turn when he becomes friends with Marlon, a motivated student from the projects who doesn’t fit in either.
Dave speaks as a street kid would, so it took me a little while to figure out everything he was saying. Once I caught on, I realized Dave Greenfeld had a lot to say about pre-teen angst, the feel of being an outsider and some of the problems with race relations.