Set on a fictional Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, Louise Erdrich’s chilling novel, The Round House, focuses on a Native American boy’s efforts to make sense of the world after a brutal crime. Joe is 13 when his mother, Geraldine, is raped near a sacred structure—the round house of the book’s title. The main suspect is white. When questions involving tribal courts and the prosecution of non-Natives complicate the legal proceedings, Joe seeks justice himself. Now an adult, he recounts this remarkable story after the fact, revisiting a turning point in his adolescence. With his girl-obsessed buddies, Joe goes on adventurous bike rides, plays the sleuth in hopes of finding his mother’s attacker and spends time with eccentric Ojibwe elders. Native American traditions contrast sharply with contemporary events, just one of many contradictions Joe struggles to reconcile. Winner of the National Book Award, this tightly plotted novel offers numerous discussion topics, including questions about gender, race and justice.
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, by National Book Award-winning author Andrew Solomon, is a groundbreaking exploration of parenthood and its attendant complexities. Solomon put 10 years of work into this expansive book, focusing on families with children who are “exceptional”—who suffer from autism, Down syndrome or schizophrenia, who are transgender or child prodigies, or even criminals. The results make for fascinating reading, as Solomon shares their experiences—the day-to-day difficulties and little victories that come with raising an outside-the-norm kid. Further enriching the narrative is the author’s own story. Solomon, who is dyslexic, says his condition posed no problems fo[Sat Mar 8 13:03:02 2014] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249. r his open-minded parents. It was his gayness that proved a challenge—for them and for him. This is a big-hearted book about the process of parenting, the meaning of personal identity and the nature of love. Because of the narrative’s length and complexity, reading groups should consider extending their reading and/or discussion time for the book.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
Acclaimed author Junot DÃaz returns with This Is How You Lose Her, a terrific short story collection that focuses on an inexhaustible topic: love. Featuring Yunior, an Ã¼ber-dude from the Dominican Republic, whom fans will recognize from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the collection explores the ways in which love influences the contemporary male. In “The Sun, the Moon, the Stars,” Yunior’s girlfriend, Magda, leaves him after she learns of his unfaithfulness through a letter. “Miss Lora” features a teenage Yunior who’s awakening to sex and who reflects on his difficult father and macho brother and the ways in which he resembles both. “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” finds Yunior settled in Boston, writing books and recovering from yet another breakup. In these electrifying stories, DÃaz also explores the immigrant experience with spot-on insight. This exhilarating collection was nominated for the National Book Award, and it’s easy to see why.
Winner of the National Book Award for The Noonday Demon and a board member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Columbia Medical School, Solomon began seeing illness and identity as related when he covered the deaf pride movement in the 1990s. Here, he expands on this notion by exploring how families deal with children who fall outside the perceived boundaries of normal--those with dwarfism, Down syndrome, or exceptional genius, for instance, or who commit serious crimes--showing how both family and children redefine themselves. Not specialized; there will be broad interest.[Page 52]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A profoundly moving new work of research and narrative by National Book Award-winner Solomon (The Noonday Demon) explores the ways that parents of marginalized children--being gay, dwarf, severely disabled, deaf, autistic, schizophrenic, the product of rape, or given to criminal tendencies or prodigious musical talent, to name a few he chose--have been transformed and largely enriched by caring for their high-needs children. These children are marginalized by society, classified traditionally as ill and abnormal, and shunned; in the cases of those who are deaf or homosexual, they were forced to conform to mainstream strictures. A seasoned journalist and LGBT activist, Solomon relies on anecdotes to convey the herculean tasks facing parents and caregivers of special-needs children because "stories acknowledge chaos," and he takes great pains to probe the dark side of parental despair and anger, as well as ennobling efforts of resilience and strength. Sifting through arguments about nature versus nurture, Solomon finds some startling moments of discovery, for example, among Deaf activists who ferociously cling to their marginality, parents of children with Down syndrome who express their children's infinite "mystery and beauty," and the truculent compassion of Dylan Klebold's parents, 10 years after the Columbine High School shootings. Solomon's own trials of feeling marginalized as gay, dyslexic, and depressive, while still yearning to be a father, frame these affectingly rendered real tales about bravely playing the cards one's dealt. (Nov.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC