Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The area around the Ingalls’ little house in the big woods is getting crowded, and Pa decides to hop in the wagon and head off to “Indian country” in Kansas. The family finds a nice place to settle and spends months building a home there. But just as things are beginning to settle down to a normal life, they begin to have troubles with the natives in the area, who are angry about all the settlers moving into their territory. 

This plot was a lot less passive than the story from Little House in the Big Woods, and as a result I enjoyed it a good deal more. This is my first time reading the series and it’s exciting to experience the story that so many people rave about. Maybe I’ll even check out the TV series, though I hear it’s nothing like the books. 

One thing I had trouble with in this story was the handling of the Native Americans and their culture. Obviously, this book was written in a time when there was a lot of tension between Natives and white settlers, and the language and attitude expressed in Little House was acceptable. However, this may be one of those books that I would discuss with a young child if they were reading it. I don’t believe in telling a child not to read a book, but I do believe in discussing certain points of books with children if it’s possible for them to misunderstand the context. This is definitely one of those books. 

In the long run, though, I’m really enjoying this series and am eager to move on to the next book. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Reason for Reading: This was one of my planned reads for the social justice theme read in February.

When Arnold “Junior” Spirit accidentally breaks his rez-teacher’s nose, he gets a piece of unexpected advice: get off the rez before you lose your spirit. Junior decides to go to the all-white high school in a farm town 20 miles away from the reservation. He consequently deals with racism from the whites and hatred from his reservation friends, while fighting the usual teen problems of making friends, succeeding in sports, hiding his poverty, and impressing the girls. This book is hilarious and tragic at the same time. I loved the cartoons drawn by Junior…and I loved his dry, sarcastic humor. The characterization was fantastic – I really felt for Junior during his troubles. But you can’t read this book and expect some fuzzy-happy picture to be painted of reservation life. This book is gritty and realistic. Even rather depressing at times. I was really touched at Alexie’s honest portrayal of the life of a reservation kid. I look forward to reading more of Alexie’s books in the future. 

Walks Alone, by Sandi Rog

2012 Book 129: Walks Alone, by Sandi Rog (9/2/2012)

Reason for Reading: I’m leading a discussion on this book later this month

My Review

In the chaos of post-Civil War America, Anna flees her abusive uncle in New York and travels alone to Denver. On the way, she is kidnapped by some Cheyenne warriors and is forced to marry. But these disasters turn out to be a blessing in disguise as she finds God in the most unlikely of places. This is the second book I’ve read by Sandi Rog, and the second time I’ve been impressed at her poignant characters and deeply moving narrative. Although novels about the atrocities of white settlers on Native Americans abound, this one really holds its own. It is a book about atrocities, yes, but it’s also about love and forgiveness and about freedom and independence. In short, this is an amazing book that every Christian Fiction reader should pick up–but can also be enjoyed by lovers of historical romances.

Iron Lake, by William Kent Krueger

2012 Book 77: Iron Lake, by William Kent Krueger (5/14/2012)

Reason for Reading: I wanted to read a book set in Aurora, MN 🙂 I’ve been there many times in my childhood.

My Review 4/5 stars
Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Aurora, MN, investigates the disappearance of a young boy at the request of a friend. While looking for the boy, he stumbles upon a mystery (and possible conspiracy) within his tiny town. This first book in the Cork O’Connor series was intriguing. Although I sort of guessed who the big baddie was, it was a total mystery to me how Kreuger’d get there. The characterizations were fantastic, and Kreuger did a good job of mood setting (with his cold MN winter). I DID wonder why most of the characters seemed to have redish hair, though? Also, Kreuger might as well have picked a non-existent town for all the similarity his Aurora had to the real Aurora, but I suppose that’s just fiction for you. 🙂 I’m excited to move on to the second book and see how Kreuger manages to fit another mystery into the small town of Aurora.