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My Name Is Not Easy Hardcover – Oct 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape (Oct. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761459804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761459804
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #648,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Debby Dahl Edwardson has lived at the northern most tip of North America in Barrow, Alaska, for over thirty years. She married into the I´nupiaq community and most of what she writes about is set within this culture. It’s not the culture she was born into, but it’s the one she feels she belongs to in every sense of the word. While My Name Is Not Easy is fiction, it was inspired by real stories from a number of boarding schools that once operated throughout Alaska.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x98d09f18) out of 5 stars 86 reviews
70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98d38b1c) out of 5 stars You cannot say my name Oct. 13 2011
By Nature Painter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am posting this because Amazon has no information about this book, not even a summary. This is the summary from the National Book Foundation page on the nominees for the 2011 National Book Award Finalists in Young People's Literature:


Luke knows his Iñupiaq name is full of sounds white people can't say. So he leaves it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles away from their Arctic village. At Sacred Heart School, students--Eskimo, Indian, White--line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there's some kind of war going on. Here, speaking Iñupiaq--or any native language--is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey. Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. But he's not the only one. There's smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader--if he doesn't self-destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small, quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. They each have their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School--and the wider world--will never be the same.


Debby Dahl Edwardson grew up in Minnesota, where she spent summers at her family cabin on an island in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. She earned a BA from Colorado College, attended Nansenskolen in Norway, and has lived for over thirty years in Barrow, the northernmost community in Alaska. She earned an MFA from Vermont College in 2005. Debby and her husband George have seven children. Her picture book, Whale Snow (Charlesbridge, 2003), was named to the IRA Notable Books for a Global Society and the CBC/NSST lists and was named Best Picture Book by IPPY. Her first novel, Blessing's Bead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009) was selected by the Junior Library Guild and named to the IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, and Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth lists."
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98d38b70) out of 5 stars More, please! Nov. 11 2011
By Jane Buchanan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most powerful stories have qualities that are unique and universal. Debby Dahl Edwardson's MY NAME IS NOT EASY is such a story. In some ways, it is a classic boarding school story, and in others it is uniquely Alaskan. Edwardson draws characters from distinct backgrounds and cultures and throws them together in a strict Catholic boarding school where they clash and bond and grow together. There is heartbreaking loss, there is new love, and there is a growing understanding of the importance of standing up for what you believe in and the power of civil disobedience. Edwardson's lyrical prose draws the reader in to the landscape and culture of northern Alaska, a world that is foreign to most of us. Yet she does it in a way that is not preachy or didactic. She evokes a world that is in transition yet holding on to and respecting its traditions. The characters through whom she tells this tale are richly drawn, and their voices are strong. Their pain is real, as is their joy. In the end, I breathed a sigh of relief, but I also felt a strong sense of loss. I didn't want to leave this place and these lives. I wanted to know what happened next. But, as the best writers do, Edwardson has left that to the reader to ponder and to understand. MY NAME IS NOT EASY is a special book by a talented writer who provides a window into a world so different from my own, and yet not so different after all.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98d38e4c) out of 5 stars Who knew I would like this? Nov. 19 2011
By M. A. Franznick - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was loaned this book by an intelligent physical therapist after I broke my collarbone. After a few sessions with her, she saw my interest in learning about my new home, Alaska.

The prose is unique, and direct. While reading the story, you are given glimpses into the minds of the characters.

The book may be considered a "young adult" novel by some. Isn't that what you want to be: a young adult?

I was surprised that I - this non-Alaskan 50 year old male - was so drawn into this story. However, I am now in Alaska 15 months, far from Anchorage, and I am beginning to understand the unique story of Alaska. Beautiful Land, echoes of social failures, challenges to manage our resources.

Read it.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98d3a384) out of 5 stars Excellent Read! Nov. 30 2011
By Lisa Linnell-Olsen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Told through the eyes of four different youth, "My Name Is Not Easy" is a historical fiction piece that will resonate with todays youth. The plot is centered around an Inupiaq Eskimo boy who has two names - his Inupiaq name is difficult for white people to pronounce, and his other name is Luke. Luke and his siblings are sent from their home above the Arctic Circle to a Catholic boarding school 60 miles from Anchorage. The story takes place during the 1960s. The school is full of mostly Eskimo and Indian children, from many different villages. A few white children are also at the school. Ethnic tensions, torn apart families, and struggles with identity are the main themes of the book. These are some of the same issues that young adults throughout the US will be able to identify with.
The author was inspired for this story by her husbands life. Dahl-Edwardson married into Inupiaq culture. The historical events referenced in the story were well researched. This book could be used in grades 7-12 classrooms to learn about Alaskan history and culture.
I personally enjoyed reading the book, feeling as though the characters were very much like the some of the people I have met while living in Alaska. It is really easy to see why Dahl-Edwardson is up for some presitgious book awards.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98d3a39c) out of 5 stars Heart rending and sad... Oct. 6 2012
By Dave H - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"My Name Is Not Easy" by Debby Dahl Edwardson is a well written cominig-of-age story about a Catholic School in the Alaskan wilderness that is tasked with converting and educating Eskimo and Indian children. Many sections are heart rending and sad. It was a bit slow for me but I think it will appeal to many readers who enjoy stories relating to native american children, siblings, hardships, home sickness, and loss.