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A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael…

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987)

by Michael Dorris

Series: Rayona (2)

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1,529244,807 (3.86)1 / 60



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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Honestly, I acquired this book based on its popularity rating at my local library. I listened to it as a download. The reader is amazing and the story itself is engaging and wonderful... but sad. Very very sad. Definitely worth the look into these women's lives and would be a great selection for a book club (because it merits a good discussion). ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
Dorris braids a single story told in reverse chronological order, from three unique perspectives. Rayona, a 15-year-old “half-breed,” begins the story, relaying her efforts to raise her own irresponsible mother. We then move to Ray’s mother, Christine, who recounts her struggles growing up and rebelling against her unaffectionate mother, Aunt Ida. Finally we hear from Aunt Ida, the matriarch of the family, whose secrets have shaped her daughter and granddaughter in ways she never intended.

It’s a great premise for a literary work. However, I don’t think Dorris succeeds in his execution. I really grew to care about Rayona, but then her story ends abruptly and Dorris transfers the tale to Christine. Because they are both portrayed as so unfeeling and irresponsible, I had a hard time caring about Christine or Aunt Ida, though I did begin to empathize with Ida when she finally tells her story in part three. HERE is a story I really want to know more about. But Dorris ends the book abruptly … almost mid-sentence.

I’m left feeling very dissatisfied, and almost as if I wasted my time reading this. A reviewer on amazon.com wrote this: It’s pretty much like a wonderful chocolate mousse with cockroaches stirred in here and there. The mousse is wonderful, but you’ll never forget the images and crunches of those bits of cockroaches.

It gets 2 stars from me – I can’t think of anyone to whom I’d recommend this book.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
I had mixed reactions to this one. In the early portion of the book, I was really engaged in the first voice Dorris takes on, but before I got very far along I was already beginning to be bored. Toward the end, my interest picked up on some level...but while the work as a whole was masterfully written, and the characters well-drawn, it was also fairly predictable.

The structure of the book felt more like a gimmick than a necessity, and added to the predictability. Early on, though, it felt like Dorris was overdoing a fairly simple (and sentimental) theme, and that the entire work was simply meant to reinforce the strength of familial love and the fact that we don't truly know one another. The novel, though, was hurt by Dorris' focus on structure and on three fairly similar characters, all of whom are hindered by secrets.

By the end of the book, simply enough, I wasn't sorry to have read it, but I was very glad to be done with it. Having felt it was predictable and overly sentimental, I also felt that it celebrated three women as strong and admirable women (in some ways, at least), when I found them less than likable, and simply didn't see the strength of character that was, apparently, supposed to shine through. More than anything, I felt they were all overly sentimental and locked into the past, even though I believe Dorris meant to imply a progression of strength and love over time.

So, yes: lovely writing, lovely characterizations, entertaining moments.... Not such an entertaining or worthwhile story, for this reader at least. ( )
1 vote whitewavedarling | Dec 25, 2013 |
Three women connected as mothers and daughters but each with tremendous burdens to bear and pass along. Although the stories are not beautiful, the writing in this book is exceptionally beautiful -- simple, direct, vivid, and tender. The author definitely knows how to bring the reader into the shoes of the characters. At times as I was reading, I could simply forget where I was and was astonished when I looked up to find myself in my own living room.

If you are at all interested in family relationships, this is a book to explore. It is a testament of how the slightest things can become so forceful in our own lives and then silently creep into the lives of our children. ( )
1 vote maryreinert | Aug 17, 2013 |
This is a story told through three generations of women from the same family, only instead of beginning with the grandmother, it begins with the granddaughter and works backwards. This may sound like an unusual and unfriendly way to tell the history of a family but it actually helps you to feel the emotions of the characters and understand their actions so much more. What starts out as unbelievable behavior ends up being explained in the end and you realize just how much love the family has for each other, even if it doesn't seem to be that they show it at all. It's often said that we are made up of our own experiences, but this is a book that proves that part of us is made up of the things others before us have experienced.

I found it interesting that for each section of the book the writing was slightly different. This makes sense, as the story is told from each character's point of view, but the attention to detail in wording and language really hit home throughout, especially at the end of the book, when Ida tells her story. She doesn't speak English, but her native "Indian", which is a more eloquent and descriptive language than English and the writing demonstrates this beautifully.

There wasn't much of a conclusion to the book, or even a real conclusion to each person's story, but I'm not certain that there really needed to be. Readers are taken to a point where their part of the character's story has been wrapped up and packaged in a set of chapters and bringing each section to an actual conclusion, either by the death of the character or some other event would only prolong the story, rather than bring it to a stopping point. I hadn't realized this at the time that I was reading and found the lack of a definite finish line somewhat unsettling, but as the story eased into me completely, I found myself quite satisfied.

Yellow Raft in Blue Water is a heartwarming journey, written very well, and almost certainly guaranteed to pull the reader in as it reminds them how important family can truly be, even when the traditional idea of family is far from what you have to work with. ( )
1 vote mirrani | Mar 1, 2013 |
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For Louise Companion through every page, Through every day Compeer
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I sit on the bed at a crooked angle, one foot on the floor, my hip against the tent of Mom's legs, my elbows on the hospital table.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Starting in the present and moving backward in time, this is the thrice-told tale of three women...15-year-old-black Rayona, searching for a way to find herself...her American Indian mother, Christine, consumed by both tenderness and resentment toward the people she loves...and the fierce and mysterious Ida, the mother and grandmother whose haunting secrets, ancient betrayals, and undying dreams echo silently through the years, bonding and braiding together the three strands of their shared past-and their future. (0446387878)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312421850, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Moving backward in time, Dorris's critically acclaimed debut novel is a lyrical saga of three generations of Native American women beset by hardship and torn by angry secrets.

» see all 4 descriptions

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