[Epub] ↠ A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: A Novel Author Michael Dorris – Burberry-outlets-online.co.uk
I must start off this review by saying that, due to lots of input from those who loathed the book with a fiery passion the juniors from last year who, like myself this summer, were assigned to read Yellow Raft for English III So before I began this book, I was expecting a trip to Hell and back in the form of tedious writing and hokey plot twists Now, being that I d like to think that their oral review had little to no effect on my opinion, I will continue with my blog.It s no surprise that the book is the interest of a high school class the plot follows three generations of Native American women, going backwards in time, yet still being progressive with new information Instead of giving vague details and leaving plot to later be found by the order of happening, and taking the chance of losing the majority of the readers within the first couple of chapters, Michael Dorris manages his time manipulation by giving certain ideas through the youngest character, Rayona As time goes on, she reaches a bit of absolution, but finds questions about her mother than anything else Now, rewind.The narrator switches to Christine, the mother of Rayona Beginning with her childhood, the plot developes and gives insight and answers so many of Rayona s questions, as long as giving her an ending sequence Now, rewind again to bring us to the oldest generation, Ida.Through this character, Dorris gets to add his element of theme to the story, aside from simply the troubles of a mother daughter relationship.The thing that Dorris achieves so well with this novel is his ability to change the characters through each others perceptions What the reader may think as Rayona speaks can be completely twisted by Christine Not so much is it an idea of the psyche is Yellow Raft as a simple message get the facts before jumping to conclusions. Michael Dorris weaves a moving story of three generations of Native American women, whose lives are complicated and twisted, and whose love for one another is buried beneath misunderstanding and lack of communication At the outset, we are told the story of Rayona s life, through Rayona s eyes She is the half Indian, half black daughter of Christine Her mother seems dissociative and somewhat cruel, and my reaction was to have no sympathy and very little understanding of a mother who would behave this way But, even in Rayona s account there is the hint of trouble between Christine and her mother, Ida, and when we reach book two and see the events through Christine s eyes we come to understand behavior that seemed so puzzling before And, finally, we are allowed to hear the background story that is Ida s life and see the roots of all this dysfunction that haunts the lives of each of these women.I was drawn into this book immediately and felt there was momentum that pulled me forward right through to the end All the characters were very realistic and there was enough of mystery surrounding their lives to make you want to unravel the threads of the story for a peek at the past I particularly liked the secondary characters of Dayton and Lee They fleshed out the story and gave it a depth it would have lacked without them There is a clear picture of life on the reservation, the poverty and problems with alcohol and the unique problems that come from living where the ties are so close and intermingled Although I have no first hand knowledge of life on a reservation, the novel feels well researched and accurately portrayed Reading it in the wake of Killers of the Flower Moon The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, a non fiction account of the Osage Indians, gave me a gauge against which to measure it, and it held up well. Michael Dorris Has Crafted A Fierce Saga Of Three Generations Of Indian Women, Beset By Hardships And Torn By Angry Secrets, Yet Inextricably Joined By The Bonds Of Kinship Starting In The Present Day And Moving Backward, The Novel Is Told In The Voices Of The Three Women Fifteen Year Old Part Black Rayona Her American Indian Mother, Christine, Consumed By Tenderness And Resentment Toward Those She Loves And The Fierce And Mysterious Ida, Mother And Grandmother Whose Haunting Secrets, Betrayals, And Dreams Echo Through The Years, Braiding Together The Strands Of The Shared Past This is an emotionally dense tale of three generations of American Indian Women It s basically one story told three times from a different POV First we hear 15 year old Rayona s story, who feels everyone has deserted her and now even the one ever present person in her life, her Mother has abandoned her Next we hear the version by her mother Christine, who while battling her own demons , basically raises Rayona ,her mixed race daughter, as a single mom alone through difficult times Lastly we hear Ida s story, the seemingly stoic grandmother who stayed on the reservation to raise Christine and her younger brother Lee As they are now grown and have left the reservation , she is portrayed as being nonchalant and cold even towards her family So that s what it look likes on the surface But as the stories are told in turn by the next woman, you come to see there are many ways to look at things Ida , the long suffering Grandmother whom they call aunt Ida , has perhaps the most interesting story which shines a light on her present behavior In fact as the stories begin to build upon one another we gain great insight in to how each of these character s situations came about and how they grow to greatly misunderstand each other s lot in life Moral of the story Never judge a book by it s cover , or someone s life by merely what you can see.I ve heard this is classic assigned reading , but I don t think this should be considered a YA book I think HS students would get very little from this book It s for those of us who have journeyed through stuff , and have maybe been both erroneously judged by others or perhaps might even have misjudged others somewhat critically a time or two Jen , Really enjoyed your Feb Selection 5 stars What kept this from being a 4 or better for me is an ending I didn t find satisfying It s a skillfully plotted story with strong writing, well rounded, sympathetic female characters and a strong sense of place and tradition This is my second time reading this book, the first time was 10 15 years ago The strength for me is that it is about 3 generations of mothers and daughters and told in sections from each of their POV It starts with teenage Rayona s POV, moves to her mother, Christine, and ends with Aunt Ida, her grandmother As each section unfolds, we gain insight about character motivation, better understand each characters flaws and choices and go deeper into the family s history and secrets My quibble about the end is that I wanted about Aunt Ida and what got her from the Last Day, which I gave to Christine to become the person she is in the present story So, I made it about halfway through this book before throwing in the towel Here s why 1 I m used to loving a book, or at least being invested in the characters enough that it s hard to put it down That was not the case with this book I read it because I had nothing else to do But stopping at any point was not difficult, and I didn t feel strongly compelled to pick it up again.2 The story was slow moving, without beautiful prose to make up for the lack of plot The writing was only so so.3 There s enough bad stuff in the world without seeking it out in my entertainment The profanity was a big turn off.Really, just one of those reasons would have been enough to give up on this book and find something better my to read shelf is big enough , but I thought because it was both commercially and critically acclaimed I should give it of a chance So much for that.One just nit picky thing It seemed rather uncharacteristic of Christine, the mother, to abandon Ray Granted, she was never the picture of maternal stability, but to just leave without another word, when she hadn t ever done that before was too much of a stretch for me to believe. Three women, who are three generations in an American Indian family, tell their perspectives on the same story and reveal secrets.I had technical difficulties for the bulk of the beginning and middle I didn t believe the actions of a priest after he committed a no no and I didn t believe he got away with it without questioning or consequences I could not suspend my disbelief when the 15 year old, who had almost no horse experience, suddenly rode a bucking bronco in a rodeo And I found the voices of the 15 year old s mother and grandmother in their first person sections of the book like a literary omniscient writer s voice rather than the characters who had been created they had self awareness and sophistication that didn t ring true Also, I got bored with the repetition of facts from the 15 year old and mother s sections But then came the last three chapters They were wonderful taking this story into the realm of the best family dramas So I m glad I slogged through my incredulity. A high 4.5 stars I am still considering bumping it up to 5 I really enjoyed this book Narrated first by the granddaughter, then the mother and the conclusion by the grandmother, this book depicts the struggles of the three generations of women in this contemporary Native American story Each character s viewpoint contains heartache and secrets The women are all stoic and brave when faced with adversity coping in their own ways I loved them all Rayona, Christine and Ida But, especially Ida What I loved about this book was how the stories overlapped and revealed things I found myself flipping back in the book to Rayona s narration while reading Christine s And, then it happened again when reading Ida s brief tale As a non Native American, I found myself in the unusual, rare situation of working with primarily all Native Americans briefly when employed by IHS Indian Health Service The Indian Health Service is required by law to provide absolute preference in employment to American Indians and Alaska Natives Applicants must submit a form supporting their tribal affiliate and blood heritage 50% I was hired only through written exception I had a skill set that was rare for applicants at that time IHS had employees from various locations and tribes and I learned so much about their cultures the tribal pow wows, their love of football, growing up on a reservation, because it was a health agency their primary health risks and issues, how highly they valued education, the beautiful artwork pottery, etc Some of the younger employees in this agency received work study scholarships for nursing and would be obligated to work at an IHS clinic for several years following graduation They were truly remarkable young people and did not take the opportunity for granted I had a lunchtime Thanksgiving feast with my office for several years where we all brought favorite dishes I loved that I eventually transferred to another agency I was working to pay my children s college tuition as I didn t want them to graduate with huge student loan debts and it seemed like the wise move at the time It would be extremely difficult for me to be promoted at IHS But, I have very good memories from working there I had to smile reading the last name Begay in this book as it is a HUGELY prevalent last name in Arizona for Native Americans For me, this book definitely had a familiarity.Poignant story I loved Ida I m looking forward to the book discussion for our buddy read great choice Three generations of women, the complicated relationships that can be found between mothers and daughters The novel starts in the present and is told backwards Starts with young fifteen year old Rayona, trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs, taking care of her mother Christine Christine who loves too hard and unwisely but tries to be a better mother than she felt hers was Ida, her story pulls everything together, the reader can then put all the pieces together, cause and effect My favorite character is Dayton, steady, asks for little but has a misfortune of his own to overcome Much of this novel takes place on an Indian Reservation and we can see the boredom for the young, lack of opportunities but some of their customs as well.That this was a first novel is astonishing It is very well told and we get to know the key characters very well Secrets and betrayals, hopes and dreams, finding one s way and understanding and reconciliation My only sticking point was that Ida s story was too long delayed, her story was the one that makes the reader understand the rest and I think a little understanding beforehand would have improved my enjoyment of the story Still this is a generational story with interesting characters facing various challenges and shows how what goes on in one generation can adversely affect the next. You know, it s strange, you live in a place half your life and yet the sight of it from an unfamiliar angle can still surprise you, it was as though I had never before seen that building, so small and hollowed out against the treeless land This quote can be true about a home or a place often visited that we may cherish, or perhaps even abhor, when brought forth from our memories I also think the same can be true about a person, or persons, that we find ourselves inextricably linked to in our lives These are people, often family or close friends that we spend time with, maybe grow up living alongside, and believe we come to know and understand thoroughly Yet, there is always another angle, another side to someone s story that may be hidden when viewed solely from our own perspective In this lovely and contemplative novel by Michael Dorris, we learn about three generations of women, a daughter, a mother, and a grandmother Each of these women has secrets, desires, and insecurities that are kept locked inside Their relationships are complex, as is often the case with mothers and daughters.We begin this story with the youngest, 15 year old Rayona s point of view Rayona is a tenacious, bright, part black, part Native American young woman who struggles with her identity as well as her place in a broken home She loves her mother, despite her late night partying and occasional disappearances, and is confused by her father s absence from the homeMy brain hums with half told stories, with pieces that don t seem to fit anywhere, with things I should have said and didn t, and I can t tell the real from the could beWhen she moves with her mother back to the home of her grandmother on a Montana reservation, she will find that she still does not quite fit in with the other Native American teens residing there In need of a friend and someone to really listen to her, she is a vulnerable young woman out of her element here Two of my favorite characters in the book, Evelyn and Sky, were introduced in Rayona s story They were perhaps unlikely heroes, which again goes to show that what we perceive on the outside does not necessarily reflect what lies just below the surface Christine s story was equally absorbing, but also perhaps the most frustrating to me as a mother myself Having lived through a childhood with a mother that refused to be called Mom or some such equivalent endearment and without any knowledge of her father s identity, Christine feels unwanted and unloved As a young girl and a teen, she gives all of her unconditional love to her brother, Lee Christine searches for recognition, popularity, and love outside of the home She ultimately exhibits signs of teenage rebellion With the birth of Rayona, she tries to make up for the childhood she feels she never had And yet, was she really fully there for Rayona She continues to party often and carelessly.The story of Christine s mother, Aunt Ida as she demanded to be called, finally reveals to the reader a wealth of insight regarding the motivation behind actions that impact a family throughout the generations A woman who on the surface appears cold and even unloving, Aunt Ida is perhaps the most complex character I found her story to be the most compelling of the three I think it was clever of the author to reveal her story last While reading her section first perhaps would have given us clues as to the reasons behind the actions and behaviors of the other two, I think by presenting it last the author has allowed the reader to be a part of the story in some fashion We start with little information and don t know the character s motivations Therefore, we are able to see through both Rayona s and Christine s eyes and understand how lack of communication can lead to wrong interpretations and long lasting effects on personal relationships The only criticism I had with this well written and moving novel was that Ida s story seemed to end too abruptly I wished that her story could have extended a bit beyond the past and delved a bit into the present I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a thoughtful examination of family relationships and dynamics 4.5 stars.