History doesn’t always seem to come alive, but if it applies to you, it really comes to life.
History doesn’t always seem to come alive, but if it applies to you, it really comes to life. “Catch you later, Traitor,” the newest book by Newbery medal-winning author, Avi, tells the story of some of America’s most recent historical events, the Red Scare and McCarthyism.
The novel follows Pete Collison, a twelve-year-old living in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1950’s. He’s just a normal boy with a liking for baseball and Sam Spade, the detective. However, his life takes a tremendous turn when an FBI agent shows up at his house, accusing his father of being communist.
The FBI is impossible to ignore, following Pete everywhere, desperate to suck information out of him. Worse, people from his own life begin to turn their back on him. His teacher tells the class that Pete’s father is communist, and his classmates make his life miserable. His brother refuses to relent on his tormenting. His best friend is not even allowed to talk to him.
Tired of his situation, Pete decides to put on his own detective hat and get to work. But with every person he talks to, the case gets even more confusing. He learns more than just his family’s communism roots and can't sort out the truth from skepticism.
This book is an easy read. It’s mostly written about a kid’s life, so that makes it easier to follow the politics. Having studied McCarthyism and communism, I was able to understand the different historical elements put into the fictional novelization, but I think it’s written well enough that someone who hasn’t learned about those events could still enjoy the book. I felt like the almost-300 page story was carried out a little too long, but I kept turning the pages, nonetheless.
Relatability is what makes “Catch You Later, Traitor,” a good free-time read.