So... this past week while I was watching my Facebook fill with posts of "Me too" and "I believe you," I was also reading The Round House, by Louise Erdrich. It's not an easy novel to read, but it is an important one. Told from the point of view of an adolescent boy in North Dakota, the novel chronicles the impact on him and his family of the rape of his mom by someone who calculatedly did it in a location that makes it hard to prosecute, because they live on Tribal land, but the attack might have happened within state or even Federal jurisdiction. Because of that and other circumstances, this story has the basis for powerfully expressing the difference between the relief felt when an abuser is locked up and the paralysing fear and powerlessness of trying to continue living while they are free and around in the same town. Erdrich is exposing the continuing barriers to justice in reservation life while also bring us along on a coming of age journey for the narrator. I highly recommend this book to everyone 14 or older.
Note: while there is a rape in this book and some details of the attack come to light, there are no graphic details of sexual violence. However, there are other scenes and conversations that have to do with sex, sexuality, body parts, and violence. In fact the intergenerational dialogue (both spoken and acted out) about sexuality, drinking, violence, and how to treat each other is one of the most fascinating aspects of the book.
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