The book opens on the morning of a snowfall. Not a lot of snow, but enough that school is cancelled (p. 3):
"My little brother, Teddy, lets out a war whoop when Mom's AM radio announces the closures."Really? Did Teddy run around the house going woo-woo-woo by patting his hand over his mouth as he said "woooo"?!
"War whoop" is one of those phrases that yank me out of the story an author is telling.
If you look up "war whoop" you'll see that it is defined as being specific to Native people, but you probably already knew that, right? That is, if you even noticed that phrase as you read it (assuming you read Forman's book).
It isn't an innocuous expression. Subtly it affirms stereotypes people carry around. You know what I'm talking about.. The idea that Native people were warlike, barbaric, and savage. Another phrase like that? "On the warpath."
The truth? Native people were fighting to defend our homelands and to protect our women and children. You know damn well that you'd fight, too, and you'd definitely be yelling.
Gayle Forman did not have to use "war whoop" to describe the exuberance her character felt. Nothing is lost if she'd just said "My little brother, Teddy, shouts with glee when Mom's AM radio announces the closures."
Given that her book is going to be on the big screen---what will we see when that scene is turned into a script? Goodness! I hope Teddy doesn't emerge from his bedroom in a headdress. If you're reading this, Gayle, maybe you can make sure THAT doesn't happen.
For now, I'm not getting her book, and this post will be added to AICL's