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The Insufficiency of Maps: A Novel by Nora…
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The Insufficiency of Maps: A Novel

by Nora Pierce

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I read this book while traveling and was pleased to have it. It held my interst and was a fine read.

My reaction in the end however is somewhat mixed. I was distracted by the similarities between this book and White Oleander and while they certainly deal with topics that deserve to be looked at often and from many angles, I still spent more time being reminded of the other book instead of simply taking in the story.

The other thing--and I hope this isn't a spoiler--is that the "take home message" was a bit muddled. On the face of it, it seems that basically Native American children--especially those from homes dealing with alcoholism and mental illness--have no hope and frankly white people who want to help just shouldn't try because even a good faith effort isn't going to be good enough. (In fact while Alice runs into cluelessness and prejudice after she goes into foster care with the new school and her foster family's extended family, the family itself is clearly trying to do what's best and accepts Alice for who and what she is. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
I read this book while traveling and was pleased to have it. It held my interst and was a fine read.

My reaction in the end however is somewhat mixed. I was distracted by the similarities between this book and White Oleander and while they certainly deal with topics that deserve to be looked at often and from many angles, I still spent more time being reminded of the other book instead of simply taking in the story.

The other thing--and I hope this isn't a spoiler--is that the "take home message" was a bit muddled. On the face of it, it seems that basically Native American children--especially those from homes dealing with alcoholism and mental illness--have no hope and frankly white people who want to help just shouldn't try because even a good faith effort isn't going to be good enough. (In fact while Alice runs into cluelessness and prejudice after she goes into foster care with the new school and her foster family's extended family, the family itself is clearly trying to do what's best and accepts Alice for who and what she is. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
I read this book while traveling and was pleased to have it. It held my interst and was a fine read.

My reaction in the end however is somewhat mixed. I was distracted by the similarities between this book and White Oleander and while they certainly deal with topics that deserve to be looked at often and from many angles, I still spent more time being reminded of the other book instead of simply taking in the story.

The other thing--and I hope this isn't a spoiler--is that the "take home message" was a bit muddled. On the face of it, it seems that basically Native American children--especially those from homes dealing with alcoholism and mental illness--have no hope and frankly white people who want to help just shouldn't try because even a good faith effort isn't going to be good enough. (In fact while Alice runs into cluelessness and prejudice after she goes into foster care with the new school and her foster family's extended family, the family itself is clearly trying to do what's best and accepts Alice for who and what she is. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
I must agree with the review of MsBaba below. I was intrigued and spell-bound by the child's perspective of poverty, malnutrition, neglect, and alienation from mainstream culture in the first parts of the book. However, when she became part of the foster care system, Alice's "voice" lost something. The latter story line didn't ring true or authentic somehow. Nonetheless, I applaud Pierce for this look at the Native American subculture and its effect on children of alcoholics or the mentally ill. ( )
  iris1948 | Feb 7, 2010 |
Pierce's finesse in relaying the landscape of a child's life through the delicate filter of her young perspective is brilliant. It's terribly challenging to write a child's first person point of view in an adult work, and Pierce accomplishes it masterfully. Through this naive lens the author gives tremendous insight into cultural wealth and poverty, mental illness and the soaring imagination inextricably tied to it, as well as the emotional hurdles of a child displaced by virtually everyone. What stability little Alice lacks in family and tribe Pierce returns to her tenfold with a compassionate and responsive audience. ( )
  copperbeech | Aug 20, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743292073, Hardcover)

In this powerful debut novel by award-winning Nora Pierce, a young girl must discover the meaning of self and family as she struggles to find her place between two contrasting realities.

On the reservation, Alice lives in a run-down trailer. Both her parents are alcoholics. She seldom has enough food and she rarely attends school, but she is free to follow her imagination. She is connected to the life and ancestry of her people and the deep love she receives from her family and community.

When her mother succumbs to schizophrenia, Alice is removed from her home and placed with a white foster family in the suburbs. This new world is neat and tidy and wholesome, but it is also alien, and Alice is unmoored from everything she has ever known and everything that has defined her.

As she traces Alice's journey between two cultures, Pierce asks probing questions about identity and difference, and she articulates vital truths about the contemporary Native American experience. Utterly authentic and lyrically compelling, this novel establishes Pierce as an important voice in American literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:45 -0400)

"In this debut novel by award-winning Nora Pierce, a young girl must discover the meaning of self and family as she struggles to find her place between two contrasting realities." "On the reservation, Alice lives in a run-down trailer. Both her parents are alcoholics. She seldom has enough food and she rarely attends school, but she is free to follow her imagination. She is connected to the life and ancestry of her people and the deep love she receives from her family and community." "When her mother succumbs to schizophrenia, Alice is removed from her home and placed with a white foster family in the suburbs. This new world is neat and tidy and wholesome, but it is also alien, and Alice is unmoored from everything she has ever known and everything that has defined her." "As she traces Alice's journey between two cultures, Pierce asks probing questions about identity and difference, and she articulates vital truths about the contemporary Native American experience."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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