The Way It Is by Donalda Reid

Summary of The Way It Is by Donalda Reid:

To Ellen Manery, a brilliant, introverted, socially isolated fifteen-year-old, there is nothing good about the summer of 1967, especially when her parents decide to move to a small town in the interior of British Columbia. All the big ideas of the 1960s—the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, women’s rights—have not had much of an effect on this small community in The Way It Is by Donalda Reid.

Ellen has always been more interested in studying than a social life, but that begins to change when she meets Tony Paul, an eighteen-year-old who belongs to the Shuswap Indians and lives on the nearby reserve. When school starts it is Tony’s friendship that gives Ellen the strength to endure the loneliness, racism, discrimination, and antifeminism she must face during her last year in high school. As Tony and Ellen’s friendship turns into something deeper, they must decide if they can break free of society’s rules and forge their own future. (via Goodreads)

My Review of The Way It Is by Donalda Reid:

Doesn’t the summary of The Way It Is sound awesome? I sure thought it did. I was beyond excited to pick this book up – I was so sure I’d love it.

Well, I’m not sure what the best way to say this is without being mean and unfair to Donalda Reid…but I really wish those characters and that plot had awoken in the head of a more seasoned writer. I feel like the way the story was handled absolutely ruined it. As engaging as it should have been…I never felt connected to anything. I really wanted to be! It just seems like the characters never had established personalities and the plot never felt fluid. I was so disappointed.

The way Indians were treated in the past is a serious issue, and one that I love seeing written about when it is done right. The struggle between the Indians and the other townspeople in this story never took shape in a real way. There were a few instances of tension…but no real fight or resolution. I was very let down by that especially.

Ellen and Tony seemed very interesting to me in the beginning, but throughout the book their personalities never seemed to cement. They would both constantly do things that I didn’t think fit the character that the author was trying to establish (especially one scene where Tony acted in a way I didn’t think appropriate to his previous personality at all). Those constant contradictions kept me from being as invested in the characters as I would have liked to be.

Overall, I’m not sorry I picked up The Way It Is by Donalda Reid. I’m just sorry it wasn’t written more clearly and didn’t meet the expectations I had for it!

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • bibliophile brouhaha December 2, 2010, 5:47 pm

    Fair review – I do appreciate it when reviewers right just how they feel – thanks for the honest opinion!

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

    Reply

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