Shoe Lake lives on a Tuscarora reservation in upstate New York. He’s proud of his heritage, but frustrated by the constant poverty and the cultural gulf between Native Americans and white people. It’s worsened by the fact that Shoe is chosen to be in the “brainiac” classes in seventh grade, making him the only person of color. Awkward. But he makes a friend in George, a new kid who has lived in Germany and Guam, where George’s father was stationed in the military. He doesn’t share the prejudice of the other kids in the class, and, better yet, he and Shoe share a passion for the Beatles.
The book is set in 1975, after the Beatles had disbanded. By that time, Paul McCartney was performing with a group of his own, Wings. In Shoe’s mind, a new album by Paul McCartney & Wings was the closest thing to a new Beatles’ album. Below is a video made by Michael Coulson when he attended Hornsey College of Art:
Shoe and George also discuss the “Paul is dead” hoax that began circulating in 1969. It is generally attributed to an article in a Drake University college newspaper entitled, “Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?”. The grist of the rumor mill was boosted when, a few weeks later, a caller on a radio show insisted that if the song “Revolution Nunber Nine” was played backwards, the words, “Turn me on, dead man,” could be heard. The “evidence” that Paul had actually died in a car accident in 1966 soon seemed to be everywhere. The rumor became quite elaborate, built on clues found in lyrics, album covers, and songs played backwards. Many web sites and YouTube videos recap the clues that prompted this international, and very morbid, investigation into Paul’s mythical death.
-Diane Colson, currently reading Juvie by Steve Watkins (advanced readers copy).
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