The Rez. An American Love Story
It’s 1959 as The Rez begins, and it’s clear that the nation is sitting on the edge of change. When ten-year-old Johnny, an Indian boy who lives on the local reservation, is attacked by several white bullies, ten-year-old Nikki-D stops the bullies. She is from the big house on the top of the hill where Indians don’t usually go. Their place is down at the bottom of the cliff. She’s heard the drum beats from the reservation since moving to the house on the hill, and she wants to know more. So, when she meets the quiet, reserved boy, who has a speech impediment, she knows right away that she wants to be his friend. But this may not be easy for either of them since prejudice is rife in the neighborhood. As they come of age, both are determined to live life on their own terms as a new decade brings changes that affect the whole nation. Johnny is a deep soul with a spirit guide that isn’t going to let him down, and Nikki-D is a determined modern girl. The hardships that they endure only seem to strengthen their bond and that of their families.
The Rez hit all the right notes for me. The characters and their backgrounds were so well developed that I felt I knew them personally. The author was able to capture time and place well throughout the story. Plus, I loved the way he carried the story of the jumping mouse right through the book. Like the jumping mouse, everyone had to work through their own demons to find their path of discovery in this book. I found the emotional depth of these characters was what kept me glued to every page. There were so many moving scenes throughout, particularly when the children were sent to Oklahoma to the Indian schools. It’s clear the reservation was a place that saw a lot of struggle, but it also created strong family bonds. I have to admit that I shed more than a few tears while reading. To me, this was much more than a love story between a young couple. It was a richly detailed and moving tale of love for a family, a community, and a culture.
I’m happy to see that this is the first in a trilogy. I’m hoping to read more, and I would love to find out how things develop between Johnny and Nikki-D where this story left off. This was definitely a memorable and enjoyable book.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Author||G. Michael Madison|
|Page Count||365 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|