There is so much to absorb in Angeline Boulley’s debut novel. The storyline is excellent, that of a girl beginning her college education being recruited by the FBI as an informer helping to track down the meth that is targeting tribal members. The slow start to the book is most appreciated as you end the story. The early pages set the stage for the Ojibwe way of life as it meets the needs of current tribal members. Daunis Firekeeper is an excellent protagonist. For a young woman, she has an amazing respect for her culture. Her mother is white, her father was Ojibwe. Never marrying Daunis’s white mother, he married a native woman and is later killed. Daunis’s half-brother, Levi, plays a major role in the story, both in the meth issue and hocky. If you live right next to Canada, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Ice hockey rules supreme. If it were just the story plot of capturing the bad meth distributers, the story would be still good, but when you add in Daunis’s observations about a native culture that works to make women self-confident leaders, her respect for elders and the look at science and traditional medicine it becomes almost required reading. There’s a lot of violence in the book, violence against women and violence toward each other. One of my favorite parts is the Women’s Circle, who at night take a man who has mistreated a woman to a secluded area and hand out their own form of justice. The book is aimed at audiences 14 years old and up. It would make an excellent mother-daughter bookclub selections. And as Daunis knows the value (literally keeping her from dying) of strong and worthy elders, a discussion from different points of view would add to the enjoyment of the story. While many would say this is a plot driven story, without the variety and strengths and weaknesses of the characters, the story would not have the depth it does.

brangwinn's rating:
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