Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review: The Round House by Louise Edrich

Finally, A Good One Worth Recommending!

The Coming of Age of a Boy on a North Dakota Reservation 

As I have mentioned countless times, I often pick up a book without any idea of what it may be about and am sometimes pleasantly surprised by what I find. I had no idea what a Round House was when I began this book and wasn't sure how it would fit in to this story.

While this book is from the perspective of the young boy, Joe, it really is so much more. Joe's mother is sexually assaulted and is reticent when it comes to speaking about the attack. The details are very important, because depending on exactly where the crime took place will impact how to prosecute the perpetrator. Some of the land is on the reservation while other portions of the area are under the jurisdiction of the regular court system. If the attacker is a white man, or a Native American, will also have implications in the pursuit of justice.

The cast of characters in this book are varied, including Joe's friends and relatives, as well as other people around the reservation. Each person is portrayed in a realistic way, with all the faults that each of us have painted in the details, which makes them seem so much more human. The backstories are also very interesting. There is Joe's aunt, a former stripper who married Joe's Uncle, who takes Joe under her wing. There is Mooshum, Joe's grandfather who spins tales of Native American history in his sleep which are often metaphors for the world around them. There is Joe's father, who practices law on the reservation but is really helpless when it comes to avenging his wife's victimization. These are just a few of the people we get to know in this book.

The books moves at a steady pace, while Joe discovers more details about the crime, builds upon his desire to seek justice and protect his mother, and learns more about himself and what he can be capable of. There are glimpses of the man that Joe will also become and I found that I really came to cheer for him even when I knew his motives behind his actions.

This is a wonderfully told story and I highly recommend it.

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