This is a post in my 50 Nifty series, in which I’m reading through 50 books that embody each of the 50 United States. Find out why I’m doing this and which books I’m reading when (so you can read along) by checking out my first 50Nifty post, or else browse all 50Nifty posts by clicking here!
The Round House, Louise Erdrich
I read this book in my Texas book club a couple years ago and found it fascinating, so although I didn’t re-read the entire thing, I enjoyed it this time around, too. Not only was it an introduction to so many foreign (to me) concepts within American Indian culture, but the political realities of the overlaps and gaps between reservation laws and non-reservation laws were really interesting, as well. The main character is a teenage boy whose mother has been the victim of a horrific assault, and something Erdrich does well in this book that sets it apart from other coming-of-age stories is integrate the challenges that the adult characters are facing with the challenges that the young characters are facing in a way that works without being trite.
Because all of the action takes place in and revolves around an unnamed Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, this is a perfect pick for the 50Nifty list. This book would not have been the same had the plot taken place somewhere else, and only a few states could house so credible an environment for this type of story.
It’s my busy season for work, so no promises about getting these posts done on Mondays for the next few months, but I am still on track with the reading!