Since it’s International Literacy Day, can we talk about Feuilly as a struggling reader?
Feuilly going to three different elementary schools over his third-grade year as his caseworker tried to work out a permanent foster home for him. Feuilly attending a high school where the books are mildewy and falling apart and every English teacher leaves after just one year. Feuilly realizing too late what education can do for him—after he’s already way behind his peers from more privileged backgrounds—and resolving to spend the rest of his life, if necessary, catching up.
Feuilly who scrapes through college through books on CD and university tutoring services and long, painful hours using every one of the few strategies he got from high school to pick apart the meaning of each paragraph. Feuilly who is prouder of his Cs than most of his classmates are about As and Bs—because those Cs represent so much hard work. Feuilly who still, as an adult, rephrases emails to avoid having to use words he doesn’t remember how to spell, who still has to mouth the words as he reads over a new lease or the terms and conditions for a credit card. Feuilly who is extremely selective about what books he reads because he can only get through about two books a year and he wants them to be the best ones possible.
Feuilly who values learning so highly not because it comes easy to him, but because it comes so hard.