I finished ‘Yellow Bird:Oil, Murder and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country’ by Sierra Crane Murdoch. It is a good book and very well written.
The exploration of Lissa Yellow Bird was wonderful. A complicated, passionate character, conflicted, damaged, and resilient. We root for her.
The book suffered from jumping back and forth in time a bit too much; the action seemed to lag in the late middle part, and the number of people to keep track of was daunting. I kept some notes, but gave up at the two-thirds mark. Notes at the back of the book tell us Murdoch worked on this book for 8 years. She would have known these characters by heart, but a reader coming to this book new doesn’t have that. I think the author could have used a trick of fiction writers to give each character something we can remember them by. Wide eyes, booming voice, twitchy movements. Cues to help readers differentiate and picture each person in this large cast.
I enjoyed the look at aboriginal societies, families and culture. The ideas of Lakota sociologist Marie Yellow Horse Brave Heart of ‘Historical Unresolved Grief’ are topics I will do some more reading on. This ‘Intergenerational Trauma’ rings true to me. Here in Canada, 50% of the women in prison are First Nations. Something is seriously wrong.
I liked that the book was honest about the drugs, alcohol and prostitution, and the effects of sudden wealth. The greed. I might have gone a little deeper on this, but not full-on Irvine Welsh. Although Lissa might not have consented to that.
I am starting a project, ‘Consenting to Learn in Public’ and this book club entry dove-tailed nicely with that. I want to better understand Aboriginal history, culture and issues. All of us in North America have a responsibility.
May 16, 2022
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Review of Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country