[Review] George - Alex Gino

Title of Book: George
Author: Alex Gino
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Year: 2015
Language: English
Format: Hardback
Pages: 215

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.
George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret for ever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte - but so everyone can see who she truly is.

George was born as a boy, physically. But she’s always known that she’s a girl. She’s been keeping this secret, until there’s a play production of Charlotte’s Web at school. Usually, the role of Charlotte is acted by a girl and George feels that this role is meant for her. She thinks that by playing Charlotte, maybe her mother and everyone else would see her for who she really is.
Gender is one thing that I consider more complex than what it seems, at least socially and culturally. I’m a girl, but to be honest, I don’t see myself as a feminine girl. Still, I’m expected to be feminine by people around me because that’s how it has always been. It doesn’t feel right to me. I feel restricted sometimes. Yet, that’s just how it is, which is why I’m intrigued by this book. In some ways, I can relate to George. The fact that this book is intended for middle grade readers make me want to read it even more and salute the author for writing this book.
One small thing that I notice from this book is how the author uses the female pronoun for George right from the start of the book. That shows how sure George is about her gender identity. Sometimes I read books about transgender and they confused me because they often use one gender pronoun at times, then another at other times. It makes me question whether they’re still talking about the same character or not. That’s not the case with George and I like it.
I also like that George has an understanding and open minded friend like Kelly. But there’s also a character that’s a bully and mean. Even though it’s a children book, things won’t go all rainbow and sunshine. Despite that, George is a book with a heartwarming story.
The writing itself is so simple and easy to read. That makes sense since it’s written for children. However, I think that more people should read George because it’s such an important book. It might seem that it ends abruptly, but it doesn’t bother me. Because it has sent its message loud and clear, through George, regardless of what happen to her afterwards. It’s okay to be who you really are.

“My point is, it takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination.”

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