Thirteen year old Joe Coutt’s life is thrown in to turmoil when his mother is attacked and raped on their reservation. Devastated by the attack and not wanting to talk to anyone, she simply goes to bed and remains there. His father, a tribal judge, does his best to help her and seek justice, but it seems to be out of his reach. Joe decides to take matters into his own hands and, along with his friends, he sets out to investigate the attack and find out the truth – hoping that life will go back to normal once his goal has been achieved.
This is the first book that I have read by Louise Erdrich, and despite the terrible events that set everything in motion, it is a beautiful book. The descriptions were incredible and the storyline was engaging, resulting me in truly caring about the characters. Whilst reading I laughed, empathised, was shocked, and heartbroken.
Erdrich has taken a devastating subject and written about it in an incredibly thought-provoking way. Strangely enough, although it was based on a terrible ordeal, with more bad things to come, the book wasn’t depressing or negative, in fact I found it quite uplifting in many places.
The back story of the characters was fantastic, the explanation of tribal life was detailed and descriptive – but not so much that you got bored.
Simply put, this story was about a family and community, who have their lives turned upside down and struggle to make sense of it all, and was a wonderful read.
(Reviewed 15 March 2013)
(Thanks to Corsair and Love Reading for my pre-released copy of the book.)