The Middle of Everywhere

The Middle of Everywhere

Book - 2009
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Noah Thorpe is spending the school term in George River, in Quebec's Far North, where his dad is an English teacher in the Inuit community. Noah's not too keen about living in the middle of nowhere, but getting away from Montreal has one big advantage: he gets a break from the bully at his old school.

But Noah learns that problems have a way of following you--no matter how far you travel. To the Inuit kids, Noah is a qallunaaq --a southerner, someone ignorant of the customs of the North. Noah thinks the Inuit have a strange way of looking at the world, plus they eat raw meat and seal blubber. Most have never left George River--a town that doesn't even have its own doctor, let alone a McDonald's.

But Noah's views change when he goes winter camping and realizes he will have to learn a few lessons from his Inuit buddies if he wants to make it home.
ISBN: 9781554690909
Characteristics: 200 pages ;,21 cm.


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Mar 21, 2015

It is in the middle of nowhere when you find yourself surrounded by the things that truly matters. Author Monique Polak was inspired to write "The Middle of Everywhere" after traveling in the northern Quebec where Aboriginal communities lived . As she shares the main character (Noah)'s experiences, she is able to clearly describe the vast and snow-filled area which at first looks bleak and barren to Noah, but later becomes a place he is beginning to appreciate. This book has an interesting mix of people, problems, action and adventure, as well as self-discovery. Readers get a glimpse into a part of the world most never experience. Although it is not your typical YA novel, it is something fresh to read once in a while... we all can get bored from the same dystopian "you can change the world" scenario.
Noah Thorpe is headed to the middle of nowhere. Just your average teenage boy except for the fact that he is moving to live in an isolated area that is way out of his comfort zone. Noah is going to spend some time with his father, a teacher at the Inuit school in George River located in northern Quebec, and his mother thinks this will give him an opportunity to get to know the father he only hears from once a week by phone. Leaving his active life in Montreal to head into a snow-filled wilderness doesn't seem too thrilling, but it doesn't take long for something to happen. On his first day in George River, Noah decides to brave the frigid temperatures and go for a run. He offers to take his father's dog along so the animal can get some much needed exercise. Just minutes into the run, a pickup truck races by and hits the dog, throwing the animal into the air. With the help of one of his father's friends, they take the dog back to the apartment and are able to assess the damage. With care and rest, it appears the dog will survive. Noah's father insists that Noah get involved in the community as quickly as possible. He meets some of the locals at a storytelling event where he begins to see that fitting in will be a challenge. The Inuit people may be artful storytellers, but they are far from welcoming when it comes to the white man. Much of their history has been disrupted and damaged by the actions and interference of outsiders. The plotline progresses as Noah learns to appreciate the simplicity of life, being independent, understanding the unique cultures of others, and develops a closer relationship with his father.
I've read the story a while back, but the essence of the story still lingers with me 'til this day. Even though it has proven to be a slow read, the opening statement had grabbed me right off the page, after all how many novels begin with the death of one's dog? The setting was very well written, with much description and you can just tell the author knows what she's talking about as she herself had gone through the experience of travelling north. The characters were created as real people and the story itself felt very real. Primarily this is a book about learning to appreciate other cultures despite not understanding them, about overcoming the fish-out-of-water feeling any 15-year-old would have in experiencing such a drastic change in living conditions. Sometimes it is when you slow down the busy rhythms of life, that you can truly live. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere...the middle of everywhere.

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