The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
That Asian Kid
Fifteen-year-old Jeevan witnesses his favourite teacher Mr Green and his all-time worst-ever teacher Mrs Greaves snogging and more in the woods, and films it on his phone. But should he share the footage on social media, which would get Mr Green into trouble, too?
As Mrs Greaves’ attitude to Jeevan becomes more and more unacceptable, the moral dilemma intensifies. Why does Mrs Greaves consistently give him really low marks in English and undermine him at every opportunity? Is it because of the colour of his skin?
Funny, thought-provoking, relatable and very well-written, this is a perfect book for teenagers in their GCSE years. Jeevan is a great character: intense, conflicted, insecure, obsessed (and, ultimately, right) as only a 15-year-old can be. Jeevan’s family life with his mum, dad and granny Maji is particularly nicely observed and very funny on cultural expectations. There also emerges the pressing need for Jeevan to get that A star in English. If he doesn’t, why is he going to study humanities subjects at A-level and not aiming for medicine, like his perfect sister Shanti?
An excellent, rollicking read, which includes some hard truths about racism hidden in a very amusing book.
Notes: Sex is present because of the affair between the teachers but not graphically described and confined to kissing among the teenagers. The story contains underage smoking and drinking.