Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: I Don't Wanna Be an Orange Anymore! by Hank Kellner

Growing up in the fictional town of Meadowview, young Willie Watson objects to being required to play the part of an orange in the school play when he is nine and in the fourth grade. But that's just the beginning of his problems. As he continues through elementary school and into junior high school, Willie has to deal with the town bully; Christmas with his relatives; the death of a schoolmate; the loss of his girlfriend; the theft of a fountain pen, and his broken eyeglasses.

But that’s not all. Willie doesn’t want to eat his peas; take the garbage out; deal with his troublesome kid sister; try to climb the ropes in gym class while his gym teacher harasses him, or have to stay after school until he’s “…old enough to grow a beard.”

Readers will discover how Willy becomes a member of Brucie’s gang; what happens in the old movie house on Main Street; how feisty old Grandma inspires Willie, and much, much more.

Included in this book are such chapters as "There Is No Santa Claus," "Oh Captain, My Captain," "The Dog in the Rhinestone Collar," "A Bird's Just a Bird," and "Hey Brucie, Your Sister Wears Long Underwear."

I Don’t Wanna Be an Orange Anymore contains a wealth of humorous and often touching descriptions of a young boy's fantasies and life experiences as he grows up in a small town many years ago. This coming of age novel is suitable not only for young adults, but also for older readers.

My Thoughts:
This book sure surprised me. I'll be honest that I did not have high expectations due to the cover of this book. I'm glad that I was proven wrong because this book turned out be such a sweet and endearing read.

The book was told by short stories recounting the life of Willie when he was in elementary school. It opened up with the explanation towards the book's title. One cannot help but chuckle why Willie didn't want to be an orange in the school's play. Next, I was quite delighted to read all the things that Willie said, did, and went through after the orange event. He didn't want to be seen as a "dweeb" but unfortunately he was named as one. I laughed on all the "evil" thoughts he had about his sister and it was hilarious how his sister was able to manipulate the parents to her side. I also enjoyed reading about the other kids in school and I felt complete compassion for Willie when he was being bullied by Brucie.

Everything described in the book was very realistic to the point that it made me question if any of it was true. It was told as if it were a memoir and the language that was used made it seem that this was non-fiction even though the synopsis said it was otherwise. Because of how real everything seemed to me, I was able to connect with many of the characters. I came to really love them to the point that a tear came to my eye when reading the fate of two of the characters at the end of the book. 

This book would have been perfect if it weren't for some of the editing errors. The errors became more apparent towards the last third of the book. Also, there were two instances were it felt like a whole paragraph was repeated. When reading the paragraph the second time, I felt dejavu. 

As a whole, this was a very delightful book. I was very surprised to find out how much I was going to love it. Yes, it was not perfect but it was still wonderful. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a fun and short read, no matter what age the reader is. I rate it:

About the Author:

Hank Kellner is a veteran of the Korean War and a retired associate professor of English. He is the author of 125 Photos for English Composition Classes (J. Weston Walch, 1978), How to Be a Better Photographer (J. Weston Walch, 1980), Write What You See (Prufrock Press, 2010), and, with Elizabeth Guy Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing Prufrock Press, 2013). His other writings and photographs have appeared in hundreds of publications and journals nationwide

      Kellner’s most recent writings include twelve E-books. Included in this collection are: Terror at Mirror Lake, a psychological thriller; I Don’t Wanna Be an Orange Anymore, a coming of age novel; The Lucky Star House of Celestial Pleasures, a satire in the style of Voltaire; The Pokerbury Tales, a satire in the style of Chaucer; several works of illustrated poetry; two cookbooks, and two other works of non fiction.


  1. Wow, I think this book sounds really good!
    I will add this to my wish list!

    1. I hope you give it a try. It's really good!