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.

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