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Hank Kellner is a veteran of the Korean War and a retired associate professor of English currently based in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He is the author of 125 Photos for English Composition Classes (J. Weston Walch, 1978); How to Be a Better Photographer (J. Weston Walch, 1978); Write What You See (Prufrock Press, 2010); and, with co-author Elizabeth Guy, Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing (Prufrock Press, 2013).
on Oct. 06, 2014 :
I really didn't know what to expect when I started reading this novel. While I found Willie's comparisons of people to horrible things who got on his nerves to be a little tiresome at first; the book started to grow on me. It reminded me a little of A Christmas Story. It's a cute book that suitable for children but also enjoyable for adults.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 11, 2014 :
What a delightful book! Many years ago, I read a book titled 'Rumors of Peace', which resonated so strongly with me that I read it several times over and recommended it to all my friends. The simple fact that I remember it so vividly after 30+ years is testament to my enjoyment of it. 'I Don't Wanna Be an Orange Anymore' is reminiscent of that earlier book, and gave me just as much pleasure to read. Both titles concern young children trying to make sense of and find their place in a confusing world in small town America.
The year is 1942 and while the war rumbles on in Europe, nine year old Willie Watson has major battles of his own to fight. These include coping with the death of a classmate, avoiding the class bully, beefy Brucie Schultz, sitting through a lifetime of after-school detentions, fantasising about seeking revenge on his sly younger sister, ruminating on the unfairness of being the sole taker-out of garbage in his household and generally coping with all the other slings and arrows his young life throws at him. The sibling rivalry in particular touched a real nerve and frequently had me laughing out loud.
I'm not sure if this is genuinely autobiographical, but the authentic voice certainly makes it sound real. I loved the easy, flowing writing style and the wry humour abounding every page as the long-suffering Willie struggles through the fourth and fifth grades of elementary school and beyond. I will almost certainly revisit this endearing book and I suspect I shall also remember it well in years to come.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Dec. 10, 2013 :
I Don’t Wanna Be an Orange Anymore really rings a bell as it recalls the events that took place in the life of a young boy during and after World War II. Sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, often insightful, the author successfully captures the essence of life as seen through the eyes of Willie Watson from the time he’s in elementary school until he serves in the Army during the Korean War. A truly engaging read for anyone who enjoys reminiscing about life during the 1940s and early 1950s. For younger generations, a fun filled, nostalgic glimpse into your parents’ (or grandparents’) era. You’ll discover that some things never change.
(reviewed the day of purchase)