Tessa’s book review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

    National Book Award winner The Round House is by turns hilarious, heart-breaking, moving, brutal, crude and crass, then hilarious again (sometimes it’s the crude and crass stuff that is so funny).  It tells the story of the summer Joey Coutz turns 13.  Joey is doted on by the old folks on the reservation.  And so are his three friends, Aaron, Zack and Cappy.  The four ride their bikes all over, usually looking for someone who will feed them.  They frequented Joey's house often--his mom and dad are happily married and stable, unlike some other families.  Joey's dad is the judge and his mom works in the reservation offices.Jacket cover
    Then one Sunday Joey's mom goes missing.  She isn't home at their usual supper time.  His dad and Joey go looking for her, passing her on the way to the grocery store.  They turn around and find her in the garage, unable to move. When they help her out, they see that she is injured, bleeding and in shock. Even Joe can tell she has been raped, but the violence of the assault wounds his mother deeply and drives her into isolation from everyone.  
    This tragi-comedy was a quick read.  I enjoyed the glimpses of reservation society and the warmth-filled celebration of family. The book also crusades for justice, pointing out terrible injustices and flaws in current reservation law. 
    One other great feature is the theme running throughout of using one's brain and education to make life better--for everyone.The book is not simply a great read, but one that challenges the reader to think, to evaluate, and to act. Louise Erdrich has written her rich Anishanaabe life for us all to share. I'm grateful.   I loved it! ~ Tessa         4 out of 5 stars

P.S. This would make a great book discussion!


janedb's picture

Sounds great.

The Cork O'Connor books got me interested in the Anishinaabe, so I'll give this a try.