Through a series of lists, a narrator reveals how likable, 15-year-old Darren Jacob’s world was rocked by his parents’ divorce just as his brother, Nate, was leaving for college, and a year later when his father comes out as gay. Darren has to figure out how to deal with it all after a stolen weekend with Nate and his crush, Zoey. The mix of lists and narration works as a contemporary style we are accustomed to in this short-attention-span world. Readers who use lists to clarify their world or build an argument will relate to this every-kid. The list format allows readers many access points to the story.
The narration sections allow for an uninterrupted dive into Darren’s world, that of a Chicago teen who is going through much of the regular angst, plus a few doozies. The flip side to the lists is that the narrative flow is a bit choppy. But in this world of listicles and media bombardment that interrupts serious contemplation, Me Being Me is an appropriately current take on a classic theme. Darren’s lists also focus, albeit briefly, on his Jewish identity.
Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Dina Weinstein is a Richmond, Virginia-based writer.