That’s the problem with Norris Kaplan, the main character in the ‘Field Guide to The North American Teenager’.
Norris, a Black French-speaking Haitian Canadian, moves with his Mom to Austin, Texas where she has accepted a position as faculty at the University of Texas at Austin. With brutal quips, he journals his angst in a notebook, as a field guide, detailing scathing, sarcastic narratives of the typical high school Southern cliques.
Not only is he dealing with his immigrant status at his new school, but he is also harboring unattended feelings regarding his parent’s divorce and feeling cast aside as his dad remarries and starts a new family.
This all inevitably leads to Norris looking within for an honest look at learning to cope with change.
With the feel of many teen movie dramas, author Ben Philippe, does an amazing job centering the rarely seen, young Black male learning to deal with the typical growing pains of being a teenager. The character development of Norris Kaplan is very relatable to those attending suburban schools and navigating where they fit into life, much less high school.
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