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Crooked River by Shelley Pearsall
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Crooked River

by Shelley Pearsall

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Life on the Ohio frontier is rough. Rebecca Carver and her sister have to run the household for their controlling Pa. After a trapper is found dead near Crooked River, Pa and some men round up some of the Chippewa Indian's who are accused of the murder. After killing one of the men, Indian John is brought in shackles to the Carver house and held in the attic until the trial. Indian John doesn't have much chance of a fair trial judging by the attitudes and treatment he gets. But Rebecca connects with the man and shows him some kindnesses.
Told through Rebecca and Amik's eyes, issues of discrimination and freedom are explored. ( )
  ewyatt | Aug 27, 2013 |
Dreaming of seeing my own books in bookstores one day, I find myself consciously wondering sometimes, what makes me pick a book up from the shelf? What makes me look at the blurb on the back? And then what makes me buy? Unfortunately what makes me buy is all too often influenced by whether the book is cheap, and some of my most treasured finds have been remaindered hardbacks.

Crooked River was a hardback remainder with a beautiful cover. Purple clouds (I like purple) loom in a black-lit sky and jagged lightning stabs at a woven earth-toned patterned thread. That’s why I picked it up. The back blurb lists the awards received for Shelley Pearsall’s previous book, Trouble Don’t Last, convincing me she must be a good writer who tells a good tale. And the inside flap reveals the voice of Indian John in prose poetry, coupled with this introduction, “The year is 1812. A white trapper is murdered. And a young Chippewa Indian stands accused.” I was hooked.

The story is told in two voices, that of Indian John with flowing words likes streams of living meaning, and that of Rebecca Carver, a thirteen-year-old slowly learning just how wrong the world can be. Her halting steps, from obedient acceptance of everything she’s told, to human concern and thankfulness and thought, are beautifully told. Her words reflect the language of the time—the author says she mined old documents and diaries for authentic turns of phrase. The passages grow to reveal the mind of a genuine girl with a thirteen-year-old’s passion for truth and joy under the burden of a settler’s needs.

I learned how justice was conducted on the frontier, how judges travelled from town to town, how decisions were made and lives ended with the aid of a jury of somebody’s peers. I learned of human frailty, of good people believing falsehood and closing their ears to truth, and also of hope. I longed for the right ending to the book, though I couldn’t see how it would come. And then I read an ending that was righter than right and delighted me.

I hope I might read Trouble Don’t Last one day. But for now, Crooked River was a wonderful introduction to an author whose research astounds and convinces, and whose writing voices inspire. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Sep 20, 2010 |
I like historical fiction, so I enjoyed this book. I especially enjoyed the family dynamics portrayed. I don't think students will like this book; but faculty members probably will. ( )
  MrsHillReads | May 20, 2008 |
Rebecca's dad has captured an Indian and is keeping him in his attic until it is time for the Indian's trial. Alot of things happen between the time of the trial and when Rebecca's dad captures the Indian. Peter Kelley comes and becomes Indian John's lawer(and alot more). It is a very suspenseful book that will keep you on your toes. ( )
  BlueJclub | Feb 17, 2008 |
it's okay but there are times where it gets really broring ( )
  dudeitsmegan | Jan 25, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440421012, Paperback)

The year is 1812. A white trapper is murdered. And a young Chippewa Indian stands accused.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When twelve-year old Rebecca Carter's father brings a Native American accused of murder into their 1812 Ohio settlement town, Rebecca, witnessing the town's reaction to the Indian, struggles with the idea that an innocent man may be convicted and sentenced to death.… (more)

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