Reviewed by Dr. Russ Yocum
Absent the element of hate, a person’s skin color is only an indication of his or her geographical ancestry. But with that element, it is a soul stealer.” (Crutcher, Kindle p. 102 of 289)
Whale Talk is an excellent exploration of pain and prejudice from the perspectives of victims and abusers.
T.J. Jones is an athletic high school student of mixed ethnicity who (Japanese, African American, and Caucasian) eschews the typical fraternity of jocks and the racist behavior they display at his school. Although he has learned to deal with a life of constant ridicule due to his differences, T.J. is infuriated when football star Mike Barbour bullies brain-damaged Chris Coughlin for wearing his dead brother’s letter jacket. T.J. hatches aplan for revenge when he recruits a band of social outcasts to populate the school’s new swim team. This, and their ever-improving performance throughout the swim season upsets the status quo of
athletics at the high school.
Against this backdrop of high school jocks and misfits, the readers learn about the realities of racism, prejudices against those who are different or disabled, and the pain of loss and regret.