BOOK REVIEW: There There by Tommy Orange


Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Format: paperback
Genre:  Native American Lit

Publisher: Vintage
292  pages
Buy:  Paperback | Kindle


Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. 

Hailed as an instant classic, 
There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.


Another look at how constant and persistent racism can devastate an entire people.  Tommy Orange tells the stories of several people whose lives will all converge at the Oakland Pow Wow.  Each is going for their own reasons several will find their heritage, some will go from villain to hero and others are going for their own selfish reasons. 

Through all these stories we see alcohol and drugs as a pervasive villain that destroys families, ruins dreams, and destinies. We see a people that are looked down on who may not live on reservations but still inhabit the same land that they have history with.  We see the devastation of not being seen or acknowledged can bring to an entire culture. 

This is a powerful book, it is a tragic book and it is a book that will stick with you.  What does it mean to be a Native person when you live in a concrete jungle?  What speaks to your soul if you don't know who you are? Who gets to tell you what or who you are? I kept seeing this book but hadn't picked it up until I saw it on Literati and I'm so glad I chose to read it.  

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