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True North by Gary Eller

True North (edition 2021)

by Gary Eller

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741,986,774 (3.25)1
Title:True North
Authors:Gary Eller
Info:BHC Press, (2021), ebook
Collections:Your library
Tags:Early Reviewers, September 2021

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True North by Gary Eller


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Showing 4 of 4
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It took me three tries to get into this book. I just couldn't get past Ida Mae's story in the beginning. Once we got to Fawn, I got pulled in, and I finished the book.

There were many fascinating and tragic characters in this book. There were also a lot of deplorable characters, mostly men, who were drawn very convincingly as inherently evil. There were themes of abandonment, loss, sexual abuse, physical abuse, incest, poverty, mental illness and a lot of murder.

Despite all of the content, I'm not really sure what this book was supposed to be about. We meet a lot of characters - all connected in one way or another - but there isn't a cohesive story to the book. A lot of people suffer and a lot of people die. At the end we are left with one character who is left half-finished and an open-ended question as to what his future would be. Frankly, amongst all the characters, he was not a compelling one, and I would have rather seen several other characters survive and be the ones to close the book.

Eller really tried with this book, but in the end it was a mess, and I felt like I spent a lot of time reading something only for it not to really have an ending. I would not recommend this book. ( )
  Menagerie | Nov 4, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Gritty and sad. Be prepared for vivid living conditions of Indians, side by side with a white culture during and after the depression. It emphasises all the negative aspects of racism. Finding love in all the wrong places is a natural occurrence and its results are as expected. As we read we are flooded with the work ethic of the Indians which I find to be exaggerated although the living conditions have a hint of truth to it. ( )
  delta61 | Oct 20, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
True North is about rural people living on and near the Turtle Mountain reservation in North Dakota, spanning the period of 1930s to 1960s. I was particularly interested in it because North Dakota is my home state with my ancestors in the state going back a number of generations. The book is a bit difficult to read for many reasons. There are a number of what could be considered main characters and these characters are connected to each other in various ways throughout the book. It is a stark book, not softening the harsh living conditions and shocking activities that occur. To me, it evoked John Steinbeck and even Edith Wharton. While it is a bleak book in so many ways, the story and characters ring true. The imagery is beautiful. I recommend it as a realistic account of life in this place and time.
*This review is an unbiased review of a book I received free of charge from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.* ( )
  Shookie | Oct 18, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
2.5 stars

True North follows Florence Little Shay, Fawn Breen, Harold Peavey and their families as they tackle life in the 1930s to 1960s around the Turtle Mountain Reservation. The book deals with tough topics and there are a few trigger warnings: racism, misoginy, homophobia, rape, murder, alcoholism, mental health issues.

Eller’s descriptions of flora, fauna, daily activities and time passing are captivating. I found Harold to be particularly calming and a constant presence amongst the trauma and found some of the character arcs interesting. Unfortunately, I kept getting pulled out of the story because of some descriptions of characters (mostly those who weren’t white men) and their reactions didn’t make sense to me. I think that the author may have wanted to portray the way misogyny and racism was exhibited in the early- to mid-1900s but the negative reactions that the characters would have felt when experiencing sexism, racism and violence wasn’t always there. That made it very difficult to immerse myself in the story. For example, a young woman is raised in an isolated setting and is very distrustful of others. She has no known experience of sexual violence. One day, when she is minding her own business, she gets raped in a barn by her brother-in-law. She is described by the narrator as thinking ‘little of it’ and finds the experience ‘distasteful’ but soon comes to consider it as another one of her chores. It was very difficult for me to believe that she would have had such a mild reaction to such a traumatic event.

Thank you bhc press for an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  tanjreadsalot | Oct 13, 2021 |
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