Yellow Raft in Blue Water
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Yellow Raft in Blue Water

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  10,722 ratings  ·  670 reviews
The national bestseller A Yellow Raft In Blue Water is 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.

This concise supplement to Michael Dorris' A Yellow Raft in Blue Water helps students understand the overall structure of the work, actions and motivations of the characters

Audio CD, 75 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Audio Bookshelf (first published May 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan Livingston
This book has characters that touch your heart and stay with you. I finished this several days ago and still and putting together new ideas and interpretations over the story.
It really highlights the frailty of humanity as well as the deep, abiding damage that can come from secrets; even well intentioned secrets.
the characters live in a world if missed communications which have disastrous long term consequences. the end of the story has a bright, shining candle of hope but it is not certain and...more
Jan 15, 2008 Danielle rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one, really
So, I made it about halfway through this book before throwing in the towel. Here's why:
1. I'm used to loving a book, or at least being invested in the characters enough that it's hard to put it down. That was not the case with this book. I read it because I had nothing else to do. But stopping at any point was not difficult, and I didn't feel strongly compelled to pick it up again.
2. The story was slow moving, without beautiful prose to make up for the lack of plot. The writing was only so-so.
Socket Klatzker
I have complicated feelings about this book. I read it about 15 years ago, as a high school student. I loved it. I always used it as an example of men being able to write from women's perspectives in an effective way. Previously, I found that I did not get into other male author's attempts, but really felt like Dorris captured female voices honestly especially around objectification and sexualization. I put him in a category of empathic and clear thinking; I put him on a pedestal of the compassi...more
Aug 04, 2007 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those studing perspective and/or Native American culture
I must start off this review by saying that, due to lots of input from those who loathed the book with a fiery passion (the juniors from last year who, like myself this summer, were assigned to read Yellow Raft for English III). So before I began this book, I was expecting a trip to Hell and back in the form of tedious writing and hokey plot twists. Now, being that I'd like to think that their oral review had little to no effect on my opinion, I will continue with my blog.
It's no surprise that t...more
Elle Lapraim
What I loved about this book was that it was broken up into three sections, each one of them about a different character, a girl, her mother, and grandmother. Every time the point of view changed you felt differently about the caracter. Plus the dialogue was great, we could all learn something from this author.
After reading A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, I found myself unhappy with the literary merit of Michael Dorris’ novel. The story of three women of Native American descent in the Oregon and Montana area was stated to be a monumental novel. My original belief, upon reading the reviews in the front of the book, was that the novel would be an uplifting portrayal of three women’s journeys throughout life. Unfortunately, my reading appetite was not sated. The typical vocabulary and unexciting plot line l...more
Apr 03, 2014 Ruth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ruth by: José
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
At first the tale seems straighforward. A teenage girl has an irresponsible mother who abandons her to a cold-hearted grandmother who doesn't want her either. Life on a remote and poverty stricken Indian reservation in Montana has never been easy, especially for a teenager who is half African American. Almost nothing in this absorbing tale is as it first appears. Everyone is holding secrets. Slowly, ever so slowly, events take on new meaning and the characters gain our compassion. The three fema...more
I got creeped out after the author killed himself and more truth came out about his life and his treatment of his foster children. Makes me wonder what really inspired his work as well as that of his wife, Louise Erdrich. At the time I enjoyed the book.
I liked the beginning a lot. I wasn't too keen on the author's rather awkward literary device of switching narrators. Unsatisfying conclusion.
I whole-heartedly loved this novel. It's a formidable saga of women spanning three generations that is beautifully layered and absolutely unforgettable. It begins with Rayona, my favorite of the three, a young girl of 15 that is as level-headed and independent as she is hardened by circumstance. Her story begins as she struggles with the contradictory natures of her relatives. Half black and half American Indian, she is undeniably striking and exudes both an inner strength and sullen attitude as...more
I read this book when I was in my thirties. I'm not sure I could have appreciated it as much in my twenties and certainly not in my teens. I was particularly taken by how 3 generations of women saw one particular event very differently. While I'm certain there are many people smarter and more mature than I, force feeding books like this on teen readers makes no sense. Schools do an excellent job of making reading and writing painful. I'm all for letting kids (of all ages) choose what they'd like...more
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Michael Dorris is a book about the three women. The main characters are Rayona, a 15 year old girl. Daughter of Christine. It takes place in Montana on Native American reservation. Christine, Rayona’s mother. Aunt Ida, Rayona’s grandmother. One of Christine’s internal struggles is that she feels guilty for telling Lee (her brother) to join the army. Her external struggle is that Aunt Ida, doesn’t really like her, and they really don’t get along.

During my time readin...more
This book is based on three Native American character's lives. Rayona is a shy teenager who is half Native American and half African American. She faces alot of conflicts with her mother who is an alcaholic/party animal, and gets teased in school for being mixed. Christine, is Rayona's mother. She is Native American, and is married to an African American soldier named Elgin. Thoughout her part of the book, she faces some difficulties with Elgin witch reflects alot on Rayona. Ida, is Native Amer...more
The book I read was A Yellow Raft In Blue Water by Michael Dorris. The story is about 3 differant woman, all from their Point Of View (POV). Rayona, Christine, and Ida. The book starts with Rayona as a littel girl. The auther tells about her life as she grows up. Then Christine's (Rayona's mother) part comes. It tells about her and her life growing up. Than she has Rayona. One of the main conflects in this book between Christine and Rayona is that, Christine ran away from Rayona and left her wi...more
This book is about 3 generations of women in a family. Rayona is the daughter, Christen is the mother, and Aunt Ida is the "Grandma". It is about are 3 parts and each part is through the eyes of each person.
The story begins with Rayona playing cards with Christine in the hospital, when Rayona's African-American father Elgin visits, making Christine angry. Christine leaves the hospital with Rayona, threatening to kill herself at the spot where Rayona was born. Christine eventually leaves Rayona...more
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water is a novel I won't soon forget. Set in Seattle and Montana, it tells the tale of three Native American women--Rayona, Christine and Ida--each in her own voice. They are related, a family, and their worlds intersect and tear apart, span out and braid back together, but it is not until the ending that the reader fully understands how the events which start the novel have come to pass.

It is told in reverse, starting with the youngest, Rayona or Ray for short. At first,...more
I read this years ago and loved the late Michael Dorris' words and the image of Native American life he conveyed so vividly. He and his wife, Louise Erdrich, often collaborated on novels which I felt was unprecedented. I think it should be required reading for American high school students but find myself dismayed by some of their reviews here. Hopefully, they won't throw the book away, and will see it in a different light if they reread it years from now.
Erdrich and Dorris were an outstanding...more
This is the story of 3 women in the same family: Rayona, a mixed blood girl; Christine, her Indian mother; and Aunt Ida, her grandmother. It was pretty good even though I felt as if I were plodding through it.

Interestingly, I discovered that Michael Dorris had been married to one of my favorite authors, Louise Erdrich. He had committed suicide in the midst of some allegations of abuse by one of their adopted children.
Somehow I was expecting historical fiction, but instead this is a book about a dysfunctional Native American family. I loved the characterization and the way the book was split into three different parts that were told from three different points of view. The story itself wasn't amazing or thrilling, it was just about life and the twists and turns it takes. I wanted an ending, but there wasn't one.
Jill Rosenberg
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book comes to mind often when I need to remember that things don't always look the same to all parties -- that one person's memory of an event may be substantially different than another person's memory of the same event.
At first I didn't really care for this book, but then it started getting better. Unfortunately, there were several unanswered questions and I though the end was pretty awful, like I must have been missing pages.
I read this in high school. Found it recently at a library sale and picked it up again- and I am so glad I did! A powerful story told from three different women's perspectives.
Dysmonia Kuiper
A Yellow Raft in Blue Water was written well enough, but if I were to describe it with one word, it would be "boring." Maybe it's because I grew up in Montana (one of two settings for the story, the other being Seattle), and tired of Indian reservation stories from my public school education. Maybe it's because I don't relate to stereotypical female concerns, like children and family, especially as they are interpreted by a man. At one point, a character is taking a bath and examining her breast...more
Didn't love this book. I thought I missed something in the end and read the last paragraph twice. Nope. Didn't miss anything but my time.
Rayona, Christine and Aunt Ida. Their stories stick with me as they intertwine, 15 year old Rayona, her mother Christine, and Aunt Ida. Through each of their eyes their shared past unfolds. I almost stopped short early in Rayona's story, until my Aunt reassured me that my thoughts at what might come next were unfounded. It was my Aunt who recommended this story, and she was spot on in her suggestion.

Yikes, I was curious to know more about Michael Dorris, the author, and just did some research....more
Great book. Amazing story of a mother, daughter and grandaughter. Each tells their own perspective of their lives. Great ending.
I can understand why this book is considered a modern classic. The writing is beautiful. Dorris tells the story of three Native American women--mother, daughter, granddaughter--to life with both sympathy and a critical view of their shortcomings. Told in a backwards chronology, Dorris begins with the story of Rayona, the granddaughter, half-Indian, half-African American, constantly on the move with her mother who can't hold down a job or a man. She has an almost nonexistent relationship with her...more
I'm a sucker for this book because my high school English teacher had assigned it and it was his favorite book, he was even working on a screen play for it. Last year of high school, he's diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Shortly after graduating, he passes away. So this book holds a dear place in my heart because of him. He assigned it and it was a great read. We always did non-mainstream literature and I appreciated it. Since he said he was writing a screenplay, while reading this I could imag...more
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Three generations of Native American women well told 14 65 Mar 17, 2014 07:46PM  
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Michael Dorris was a novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, and author of books for children

The first member of his family to attend college, Dorris graduated from Georgetown with honors in English and received his graduate degree in anthropology from Yale. Dorris worked as a professor of English and anthropology at Dartmouth College.

Dorris was part-Native American through the lineage o...more
More about Michael Dorris...
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“Don't ask so many questions and they will all be answered.” 8 likes
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The woman retreated a step. This thought had clearly not occurred to her before.”
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