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Jan 02, 2018vickmeister rated this title 2.5 out of 5 stars
The collective experience that Sherman Alexie shares about his life and those of his extended family in the Salish tribe is soaked in sorrow and justifiable outrage, even when you consider the author’s frequent and almost proud declaration of being an exaggerator and a liar. Unfortunately, his telling of the tales is a disjointed mess, jumping around from story to unrelated story sprinkled in between pages and pages of distracting narrative poetry. About midway through, Alexie shares a conversation with a relative who has read an earlier draft of the work, where he admits that the book is told like a patchwork quilt, a nod to his mother who created so many of them during her troubled, angry life. Considering the complicated, conflicted relationship that emerges between Alexie and his mother, perhaps this was the way he felt he had to tell it, in order for him to keep a distance from his own intense feelings. I found the format distracting and somewhat off-putting, keeping the reader at arms-length from the sad and often startling tales being told and preventing any real empathy to take hold. I finally gave up on it as I just couldn’t feel any connection, as much as I wanted to. It’s a shame that he chose this format, because told as a straight narrative this would have been an extremely powerful, moving story. Perhaps your experience will be different but I can’t really recommend it.