Name Me Nobody
Prices for book: Name Me Nobody
Book ISBN: 9780786814664
Author(s): Lois-Ann Yamanaka
Document type: Trade Paper
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A young adult book also for grown-ups
Lois-Anne Yamanaka is one of the most admired novelists today in the Hawaiian 'local color' tradition and probably the most popular. I find some of her 'adult' work a bit too self-consciously literary, but that is not a problem with this straight-ahead and simply told story.
She certainly dumps a lot of troubles on the head of her young protagonist: internal family trouble, overweight, lousy pseudo-boyfriend, wayward girlfriend. My kids were in a Hawaii high school a few years ago, and this book rings true, though fortunately I don't recall any one of their classmates having ALL of this girl's troubles.
Some of the other reviewers' comments were well-taken. The plots are numerous and rather complex for 'young adult' fiction. The pidgen can be intimidating. Hawaii is a real place, and different enough from the Mainland to be 'exotic' and somewhat mysterious. But, as the computer geeks say, these are not bugs -- they are features.
OK -- or ' 'kay den' as a pidgen speaker would say -- not every sentence will be crystal clear to the reader. Not every sentence has to be crystal clear to get the benefit of this lively novel.
Harry Eagar (Amazon.com)
Lois Ann hits it on head. But what should I expect from Yamanaka, who I consider to be Hawaii's most talented author? It is often hard for people to capture Hawaii pidgin properly without making it sound like some gratuitous affectation, but Yamanaka's uncanny ability to create and re-create the streams of language that I had grew up in leads me right back to the world I knew but as seen through the dazzling screen of her limitless imagination and heart. Bravo!
D. Koda (Amazon.com)
Call This Book Something! (and I don't mean give it a name)
At first, I was dreading that I would have a difficult time finsihing "Name Me Nobody" since the pidgin English greatly slowed my reading and I had to backtrack several times to clarify that I had read everything correctly. However, once I made it through a couple of chapters, I was able to adapt to the word flow and the book became much easier to read. Luckily, I didn't have any problem with the Japanese vocabulary since I'm studying Japanese, but a glossary in the back would definitely help those who are unfamiliar with the language. With all that said, I feel the pidgin English and Japanese are essential to "Name Me Nobody" because they help to give the characters an authentic voice. So what else can I say? I really enjoyed this book. While under the surface, "Name Me Nobody" is your standard coming of age story, Yamanaka puts a twist on it and creates a books with an addictive story and memorable characters. ALL of the characters have flaws which, for me, makes them much more beleivable. For example, when the reader is first introduced to Emmy-lou, she is an overweight, self-conscious mess. She blames every rejection she encounters on her weight problem. After her best friend, Yvonne or "Von", helps her to lose the weight, however, Emmy-lou is STILL a self-conscious mess and she still puts the blame on everything/everybody but herself. While this allows for the reader to not always be fond of Emmy-lou, this portrayal strikes me as being very realistic. Yamanaka allows for the reader to witness Emmy-lou as she learns to come to terms with and to accept herself. Aside from the great character development, the plot of "Name Me Nobody" is very engrossing. It kept me guessing as to what was in store next for Emmy-lou and I stayed up until 4 a.m. finishing this book. The lack of sleep was well worth it though, even if I was exhausted at work the follow day :) In conclusion, I highly recommend Lois-Ann Yamanaka's book "Name Me Nobody" and I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.
Another wonderful novel by Lois-Ann Yamanaka
NAME ME NOBODY by Lois-Ann Yamanaka
A young adult book that will be enjoyed by adults as well, NAME ME NOBODY is the story of thirteen-year-old Emi-Lou Kaya, a very insecure overweight Japanese American living in Hawaii. Her mother lives on the mainland and she does not know who her father is. Her maternal grandmother, a very feisty strong-willed woman who is trying to correct the errors she made while raising Emi-Lou's mother and Aunt Vicky, is raising Emi-Lou. If it weren't for her Grandma and her best friend Yvonne, Emi-Lou feels she would have no one else in the world to love her.
The story details Emi-Lou's (Louie's) trials as she attends Junior High school, tries to fit in, and maintains her friendship with Yvonne (Von). When Emi-Lou notices that Von is starting to pay more attention to another girl in school, warning bells go off inside her head, and she finds herself wondering what is going on. Jealousy rears its ugly head as she lets this new friendship come between her and Von.
Emi-Lou also deals with boys, wishing to be noticed by the coolest in school, and Von helps Emi-Lou lose weight. She finds a new sense of self-esteem when they finally notice her, but maybe for the wrong reasons. It's tough growing up, especially if you don't have parents that want you, and when you are overweight and feel like an outcast.
NAME ME NOBODY by Lois-Ann Yamanaka was yet another wonderful book immersed with the Hawaiian Japanese culture, complete with pidgin and culture that is part of the Hawaiian Japanese world. This reader felt very much at home with this book, being Japanese American, but a Haole should be able to enjoy the story as well, as it is a universal theme that Yamanaka explores, that of fitting in. This reviewer gives NAME ME NOBODY four stars.
Complications marred what might have been a good book.
I liked the story in "Name Me Nobody". Everyone knows the tales about girls who lose their best friends when their friend finds a boyfriend. "Name Me Nobody" puts a twist on the old familiar theme: Emi-Lou lost her best friend Von to Von's GIRLFRIEND. This is original and I like originality. Five points for that.
However, the book was very hard to follow. The huge cast of characters, many of them going by several names, frustrated me and I didn't know what was going on half the time. For instance, there's Genevieve and Viva. They're the same person. I think. But I'm not sure. I think the author could have tried harder to make the book clear and easy to follow. Minus one point for that.
Another thing that annoyed me was the language. The pidgin English did add to the authenticity of the story, which is set in Hawaii. But many times the characters inserted Japanese words into their speech and I could only guess as to what the Japanese meant. This would not have been a problem had their been a glossary enclosed, like in John Marsden's books where everyone speaks Aussie. But "Name Me Nobody" had no glossary, so the language just kept me guessing. Minus one point for hard to understand.
It was a good book, but these flaws annoyed me and I'm not inclined to buy it, or even check it out from the library again.
Meaghan Good (Amazon.com)
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