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Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival

4.37  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
“A name creates life patterns,” Allison Adelle Hedge Coke writes, “which form and shape a life; my life, like my name, must have been formed many times over then handed to me to realize.” Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer is Hedge Coke’s narrative of that realization, the award-winning poet and writer’s searching account of her life as a mixed-blood woman coming of age off-reserva ...more
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by University of Nebraska Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Nov 26, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing story. I won't lie, there are some horrible things in this book. Not everything will be pleasant. The most amazing this is not only did Hedge Coke survive these horrors, but she preserved her ability to laugh and revel in the beauty of the world. The writing is sometimes poetic, and sometimes plainly bold in setting forth terrible things that happened without flinching or becoming maudlin. Simply put, they happened and she survived. The book is an emotional and beautiful story ...more
Brenda Mantz
Dec 18, 2007 Brenda Mantz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to write memoir
This book could serve as a text for how to write a memoir.
Jan 30, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Could not put this one down. If your ever feeling sorry for youself read this remarkable story of courage and survival. Wow...just read it. Incredible.
Jul 19, 2014 Gretchen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult to say that I liked or even enjoyed this book. It was full of family dysfunction, mental illness, physical, emotional and drug abuse; however, I was so taken with the author and her grittiness, I desperately wanted her to find peace and happiness. Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is mixed race, of Native American (Cherokee) heritage and Huron, Muscogee, French-Canadian, Portuguese, English, Alsace-Lorraine, Welsh and Irish.

Much of Allison's young life is spent learning the ancient Nativ
Jay Shelat
Jan 13, 2015 Jay Shelat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book of this length usually wouldn't take me a week to read, but I had to spread out the reading. It wasn't because I'm on Spring Break, but it's because Hedge Coke's story is unbelievably upsetting. I didn't want to ruin my week-long vacation with a huge dose of sadness; I took it bit-by-bit.

Rock,Ghost,Willow,Deer recounts the life of Allison Hedge Coke, who, as the subtitle suggests, is a survivor. Written beautifully, her compelling story teaches the reader to persevere no matter what the
Jan 29, 2008 Malcolm rated it it was amazing
Blunt, honest, gritty, this is one of the best stories of an individual's formative years that I've ever read.
Nov 19, 2009 Ruth rated it it was amazing
tragic story told beautifully, not an easy thing to do.
Amy Little
Mar 21, 2013 Amy Little rated it it was amazing
This was wonderful! I think every woman should read this book. It is remarkable and is told with poetic clarity. It took me less than two days to read. I cannot recommend it enough!
Faith Colburn
Jan 11, 2013 Faith Colburn rated it it was amazing
A harrowing tale of a family dealing with mental illness and what it does to the children.
Robin Yaklin
Jan 04, 2008 Robin Yaklin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Wow! Parts of it are hard to take, but then she hasn't had an easy time of it. I know Allison. She's a delightful person and fantastic writiing teacher.
Mar 27, 2012 Alison rated it liked it
Ok guys, this is my first review. Bear with me.
Basically, this crazy-ass woman lovely lady grows up with her Native American family outside of a reservation. Her mother was a psycho bitch with schizophrenia, and since this was during the dark ages of the mental health field, all she ever received were shock treatments that left her loopier than a kid huffing paint. Gotta love the '50s. Oh, and her sister gives off the air of one of those two-faced bitches who are really only nice to people when
Maureen Stanton
Dec 28, 2013 Maureen Stanton rated it it was amazing
I was swept into this word of Hedge Coke's adolescence, her courage in the face of extraordinary trauma, and the occasional and necessary meditative moments when tending to horses or gardening that provided some respite in the author's life, and for the reader as well. I appreciated the background and context of Huron/Cherokee and indigenous cultures that infused her ethos and spirit: forgiving, generous, naive, hopeful, quietly powerful. I love the voice and writing, and there were passages tha ...more
Dec 30, 2007 Catherine rated it really liked it
Never pity, just wonder how one can live this life. The book pulled me from revulsion to tenderness. By the end of the book I wanted to put my arms around Allison, and then I realized she is carried through life by a force and spirits that give her the leash to live.
Nikki Wilson
Sep 12, 2012 Nikki Wilson rated it liked it
While her stories are interesting, I started to loose interest in them after a while because of how depressing they always seemed to be. Nevertheless it was a worthwhile read.
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Dec 09, 2007
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Allison Adelle Hedge Coke authored books include: The Year of the Rat, (American Book Award) Dog Road Woman and Off-Season City Pipe, poetry; Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer, a memoir; and Blood Run, a verse-play that served to lobby for legislation and protection of the Indigenous site. 2014 works: Burn, MadHat Press and Streaming, Coffee House Press. Hedge Coke has edited eight additional collections, ...more
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