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See No Color

Review

See No Color

For as long as she can remember, sixteen- year-old Alex Kirtridge has known two things: 1. She has always been Little Kirtridge, a stellar baseball player, just like her father. 2. She's adopted. These facts have always been part of Alex's life. Despite some teasing, being a biracial girl in a white family didn't make much of a difference as long as she was a star on the diamond where her father, her baseball coach and a former pro player, counted on her. But now, things are changing: she meets Reggie, the first black guy who's wanted to get to know her; she discovers the letters from her biological father that her adoptive parents have kept from her; and her body starts to grow into a woman's, affecting her game. Alex begins to question who she really is. She's always dreamed of playing pro baseball just like her father, but can she really do it? Does she truly fit in with her white family? Who were her biological parents? What does it mean to be black? If she's going to find answers, Alex has to come to terms with her adoption, her race, and the dreams she thought would always guide her.

The protagonist of SEE NO COLOR, Alex, was quite relatable. She embodies the typical teenager who is going through a difficult time in her life. Although her main problem was not necessarily anything I have gone through, I could relate to her feeling that she didn’t fit into where she was placed. The plot was also developed well throughout the novel. There were twists and turns throughout that I did not expect, which kept the plot interesting. As great as all these things were, however, they were not what made me like the book so much. I only realized the true impact of SEE NO COLOR when I was having a conversation about it with a friend.

The conversation started when I was venting about the placement of detail in certain scenes because I didn’t understand why the author would choose to do that. However, my friend thought that the special attention to detail was an essential part of driving the plot. She thought that it helped highlight the most important topic of the book --- racism. Our conversation revealed to me that our perception and understanding of any book depends on what kind of lives we lead and the experiences we have had. My friend had grown up and been raised in an environment that was drastically different from mine. In fact, we were born and raised in different countries. Our life experiences up until right now have been completely different, which explained our different opinions on the book.

 
I loved this book, not only because of the plot and the characters but because it taught me something that I will carry with me for a while.  
I realized that no piece of creative work is cut and dry. No one individual can identify what the author is intending when they write a book, a sentence or even one specific word. Our interpretation of a text is just that --- an interpretation. I have had that drilled into my head since I have started taking English classes but never understood the full implications of it until I had this particular discussion, and I read the rest of SEE NO COLOR in a dualistic manner.

I read it from my perspective --- which was the one determined by my previous life experiences --- but also tried to view the text as being from the perspective of someone who had totally different experiences than me. It was almost like I took on the persona of another reader while reading the book. While this may sound a bit weird, I enjoyed reading the book this way and I do want to take this style of reading with me when I read other books.

I loved this book, not only because of the plot and the characters but because it taught me something that I will carry with me for a while. In truth, that is where the true value of books lie. All books teach us something new even though it may not be obvious. What I learned from this book in particular proved to be very important and I know it will affect how I read books for a long time coming.

SPOILER SECTION:

One subplot I wished that was more developed was the relationship between Alex and her biological father. She spends so much of the book talking about how she does not feel like she belongs and how she wished she could talk to her biological parents. However, when she finally does get a chance to do so, the storyline is not developed. We do not get to see how the relationship looks after a few more meetings. I wish there was more of a closure to that subplot but that was my only complaint about the book. 

Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board member on December 4, 2015

See No Color
by Shannon Gibney