bluewillowtree: (Default)
( Jul. 21st, 2011 02:52 pm)
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water is one of those books that I'd been vaguely aware of for years without having any idea what it was about. There are a lot of those, but I never seem to remember them when I'm actually in a library. I had the same problem back when there used to be CD stores. But anyway, I'm glad I finally got around to reading this.

The book tells the stories of three generations of Native American women: Rayona, Christine, and Ida. I've read plenty of multi-generational stories before, but what's unique about this one is that it's told backwards. The first section is narrated by 15-year-old Rayona, the middle by her mother, Christine, and the third by her grandmother, Ida. Each story goes further back in time and reveals an earlier set of circumstances that led to the future where the story begins. The farther I read, the more sense the story made, and I kept flipping back and thinking things like "Oh, that's what was happening there." I didn't always like the characters, but it was fascinating to go backward and see what made them the way they are. It was particularly intriguing to read about events told from two different points of view, though there's nothing that's told by all three narrators. In the end, I found myself with compassion for all three of them and definitely liked them more than not.

It wasn't a happy or uplifting story, but I think I liked it better because it wasn't. I didn't find it depressing either. I think it's just a story about the ways in which life doesn't generally turn out the way one might expect. And that's not necessarily a good or bad thing; it's just life. So yeah, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water was definitely worth the read.
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