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Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
Black Swan Green, David Mitchell tell the story of Jason Taylor, a 13-year-old living in the small village of Black Swan Green in Worcestershire, England in 1982. Each of the connected thirteen chapters tells of another episode in that year of the dawning of his adolescence. Jason has a stammer, which he does his best to hide by searching for words that don't cause him to stammer. His fear is to wear the wrong clothes, do the wrong thing, or say the wrong words that will make him a target of bullies, or even worse, to be thought of as gay. His parents are unhappy, and his fathers thinks that 13 should be one of the best years of anyone's life. It's a difficult year for Jason, though, but he's a budding poet starting to find the inner beauty of nature and the adventure of secrets and mysteries. Black Swan Green has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "Mitchell makes all this look easy, but from the pen of anyone less gifted, these stories would turn precious, maudlin or dull. He has a perfect ear for that most calamitous year, the first of the teens, when we come face-to-face with the volatile nature of life. There's plenty of sadness in that discovery, of course, but humor, too, and he spins them together subtly in this touching novel."