Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Round House

Erdrich, Louise. The Round House. New York: Harper, 2012. Kindle file.

My Thoughts

My book club met last night to discuss this book. We pretty much were in agreement that Erdrich creates memorable characters (Cappy, Sonja, Linda Wishkob, Father Travis). There were some questions about whether or not the age of the narrator was appropriate and would it change the story having an older narrator. However, I think the narrator has to be 13--it's the age that our young, innocent eyes are often shown the reality of situations. This is Joe's coming of age story.

The plot line involves Joe's mother being raped, and Joe and his friends trying to find and capture the rapist. There are humorous parts of the story (the Grandparents provide some comic relief) to balance the seriousness of the story. As the reader learns what happened to Joe's mother & Mayla, the comic relief is welcomed.

I like the way Erdrich tells the story and infuses cultural cues within the story. She includes the mysticism of the culture with revealing facts about the law. She has the "insider" knowledge. Her writing is clear--I felt like I was following Joe and experiencing everything he was.

Erdrich is commenting on very serious issues: who has jurisdiction and what is justice? Reading this book made me more aware of the plight of women on reservations. Erdrich also made me think about how justice is many things and is interpretive.

I hadn't read any of Erdrich's writing before this book, but I think I will pick up another of her books. Some critics compare this story to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. For me, both the story and writing were good, but it it not Scout's story nor Lee's narrative voice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Royal Family

Greensit, Charlotte, ed. The Royal Family. New York: Time Books, 2012. Print.

My Thoughts
This was a quick read of the current Royal Family of Great Britain. The chapters are short and divided up by topic, including a brief history of the Windsor Family Tree. As I am not a royalphile (is that a word?) like my good friend M.A., I was glad to have the history. I wish that one chapter would have included the "rules" of succession to the throne and how (or why) the royals can change their names and titles.

The photographs are stunning. Some I've seen before, many I had not. Queen Elizabeth has aged, and yet has not aged. The old photos are as crisp color as the newer ones.

A book about the Royal Family would not be complete without mentioned Princess Diana. She has an entire chapter (something Camilla didn't get).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


David, Peter. Tigerheart. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008. Print.

My Thoughts
A friend of mine told me this was his favorite book, and he wanted to share it with me. I began reading it, quickly realizing that it was a Peter Pan kind of story. By this, I mean that there are references to the Peter Pan story (which I'm really not sure I remember so well), but the name Peter Pan is actually not mentioned. The author explains at the end of the book that he set out to write a Peter Pan story, but then "realized that it was really Paul Dear's story" so he created "pastiche versions of Peter and company" (David 297). This allowed him some flexibility with the characters and plot.

I thought this was a good fantasy story, especially for middle grade readers. The narrative voice allows for description, explanation and humor. The story teller dips in and out of the action to reassure us, divert us, and provide any necessary information that we might not otherwise have.

The title reference is on page 182.

As I read, I thought about how childhood should be a magical time (coincidentally, I read this between Thanksgiving and Christmas--the most magical time of year). I thought about how adults don't often allow themselves to be children or experience the same wonder and excitement of a child. We should. David explains the difference between adult and children. "When you are a child, there is joy. There is laughter. And most of all, there is trust. Trust in your fellows. When you are an adult...then comes suspicion, hatred and fear" (David 216). David further explains that adults mess things up, then claim children are the future. Very insightful, I thought.

I wrote down something that I think captures the book, "Everyone is the hero of his own personal story" (David 159). So true.