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The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir
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The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  39 reviews
"I sat down to write a book about pain and ended up writing about love," says award-winning Chickasaw poet and novelist Linda Hogan. In this book, she recounts her difficult childhood as the daughter of an army sergeant, her love affair at age fifteen with an older man, the legacy of alcoholism, the troubled history of her adopted daughters, and her own physical struggles ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2001)
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The West has been vanishing almost since it was first inhabited by Europeans, and as a Native American writer, Hogan is devoted to the recovery of what has been nearly lost -- in particular, the culture and history of Native American tribes. This collection of personal essays, part memoir, argues that history lives, often unacknowledged, in our bodies. The catastrophe of shattered Indian cultures lives on, generations later, in the shattered lives of so many descendants of those tribes.

Hogan is
This is the first Linda Hogan work which I've read in whole--I've read excerpts from Dwellings and The Book of Medicine. The times I've read her it's been assigned reading, and I have to say I'm not really sure how well known she is outside academia. I read this for my women's and gender studies class, where we learned a lot about systems of oppression, including race, and how these perpetuate other systems of oppression. I almost wonder if it would have been better to start with this out of all ...more
Wendy Perkins
Hogan has some beautiful turns of phrase in this book, and some excellent descriptions. Beyond that, it's hard to find anything good to say. There was no story. There were probably a dozen stories interwoven, except they didn't go anywhere and coalesce into a larger point. I'm not even sure what this book was supposed to be about, except as a vehicle for Hogan to whine about how painful her life is and has been.
Couldn't finish it. There was really no plot just a bunch of memories of this women's life. I know it is a memoir; however, sometimes memoirs follow a pattern or a certain time in the narrator's life. This did not.
This book was so hard for me to read. I had to put it down several times because of the abuse she suffered, along with what other relatives suffered. It was just too sad. I have to give the author credit, tho, for having such a forgiving spirit and coming out of her experiences, both mental and physical, with a kind and loving heart. She was so in touch with her Native American background, its history, spirituality, connection with earth and sky, that she came out whole. She is a very strong wom ...more
Reading this was like having a religious experience. I spent two days reading this in order to answer one exam question for a Women's Studies course and I am deeply moved by the stories Hogan told. For the longest time I have been in a bad place but Hogan helped me shed some light on the bad, showed me how I can change for the better "knowing that the horrible and beautiful are together in the world," and passing "the threshold into something finer." There's something tragically beautiful about ...more
Laura Avellaneda-Cruz
I loved loved loved this book in parts. I was absorbed in it. I felt like a friend was telling me stories because there is something intimate, loving, and wise about Linda Hogan. At other parts of the book, I was lost or bored or put off by her poetic, philosophical musings.

Some of the historical, scientific, or cultural literature from which she draws in her musings is very interesting and powerful for narrating certain truths about Native American history or the importance of the bones of our
Larry Strattner
This is one potent memoir. It is difficult for many of us to appreciate the history of indigenous people of America after the arrival of Europeans. Years of injustice, intolerance and cruelty sowed, and continue to sow seeds of dissolution and despair. Even those who immigrated to America to escape persecution and genocide never seemed to make any connection between their own plight and dreams of freedom with Native Americans. They merely robbed, raped and killed the original owners of our land ...more
The book started off strong and I was intensely interested with the stories of her own adopted children and her past life with her own mother, but I grew more disinterested when the rest of the novel seemed to focus more on her pain and her accidents from falling off of the horse. I understand that this book is a book of healing and it was written as a means to cope with the pain, but it was not as effective as I would have liked it to be. Perhaps it is because I have never been in an accident l ...more
Kristina Amelong
Opening with, I remember the first time I saw the clay woman. I found my dead brother, standing in a barn, from reading her words!
Found it difficult to get into the flow of the book, though I respect and admire her struggles, resiliency and compassion.
Hiram R.
I can't say very many positive things about this book. The tone is self-pitying and self-righteous. The narrative is, it would seem, inadvertently discontinuous, aimless, and inadvertently aporetic - on the one hand, the book is supposed to be a memoir, but on the other hand, the author eventually tells her reader that she "no longer know[s] what truth there is in memory" (p.170).

Hogan's heavy-handed sentimentalism, in my opinion, trivializes the very real problems she wants us to remember, pond
Beautifully written!!
Kathleen Smith
A friend suggested that I read this as she felt it would assist me in my battle with chronic pain.
Since I try everything I immediately ordered it and put all other books on hold.
While the sections that deal with pain are extremely profound and on target, you can count them on one hand. I probably had myself set up for a book that was not to be. Therefore was disappointed.
I found the writing choppy and disjointed (maybe from residual of the authors accident) and very difficult to make thoughts
I admired her honesty, her rawness.
This book is my all time favorite. Bestowed upon me by my most influential professor, Dr. Jackie Alexander of Toronto University, I have held this piece so dear to me. Linda has a way of finding beauty in pain and articulates it biologically. I appreciate her spiraled writing style.
Beautiful memoir; personal history woven with tribal history.
"I come from warriors," Hogan writes, "yet I can hardly speak. That's why I write this."
A strong sense of healing in the book, not a relief from pain (physical or emotional) but a strength to thrive within it somehow, like the man Hogan writes about who believes he can warm himself with the beauty of fireflies.
Chelsea Greathouse
In The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir, Linda Hogan's language is beautifully written. Her sentences are spiritual and this book was a way for herself to heal her wounds. Finally getting everything out onto a page about her life cleaned her scars. This is a book I would like to re-read when I'm older to get a different perspective on it.
This is for my class this semester - so I finished it, and I really found her life to be somewhat distressing because of all the things that happened, and I feel bad because alot of it is legacy from when the white settlers moved the Native Americans to reservations. But it was a very interesting book to read and to see another point of view.
Don Flynn
Between a difficult upbringing, the adoption of two troubled children, and a crippling fall from a horse, I'm not sure how she ever got any writing done. But she did, and this finely wrought memoir of a native Chickasaw woman gives us a glimpse into her patient, indomitable spirit and her efforts to reconnect with her tribal identity.
Claudia Mundell
It is September and I found this book in the closet thinking I had not read it. I see I just read it in March but did not recognize until I was already a couple of chapters into it. I read it all over and enjoyed it. Either that shows my senility or just how good the book really is!
I found much of the language in this book to be beautiful and poetic, but overall, many parts seemed redundant while other parts were very underdeveloped. For this being a memoir I feel like I only got a few glimpses into her life. I'm willing to try one of Hogan's novels, though.
Powerful memoir written by a Native American poet and writer who not only describes her life but the condition of many of her people who have suffered loss of identity and culture and are now returning to the knowledge and traditions of their elders.
This is a poet I want to keep close tabs on. Her beautiful and rending thoughts of pain illuminated many things for me and as a result, healing came. She's lived a rough life but she's hung on and has eyes for great beauty amidst suffering.
Jaena4 Beadling
I found this really interesting, but mostly because I do research on Linda Hogan. I think she's a better novelist than essayist, so I would recommend Solar Storms over this book.
I read this a long time ago when I was attending CSULB. This was an assigned book to read but I didn't mind reading it, especially since my professor was friends with the author.
Such pain and loss and confusion, yet beauty. Not a chronological memoir but a look at all the connectedness, the learning and the lonliness in the author's life.
I read this because she is coming to the Literary Sojourn.She had a very rough life.I am interested to see if she comes across as a positive person face to face.
"Maybe it was a place where words emerge form silences." -Linda Hogan

There is a great section on the myth of atlantis that makes it all worth it.
This is memoir in fragments, about being Native and being a woman and adopting her daughters and memory loss and life.
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Linda K. Hogan (born 1947 Denver) is a Native American poet, storyteller, academic, playwright, novelist, environmentalist and writer of short stories. She is currently the Chickasaw Nation's Writer in Residence.

Linda Hogan is Chickasaw. Her father is a Chickasaw from a recognized historical family and Linda's uncle, Wesley Henderson, helped form the White Buffalo Council in Denver during the 1950
More about Linda Hogan...
Solar Storms Mean Spirit Power People of the Whale Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World

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“There are ways in, journeys to the center of life, through time; through air, matter, dream and thought. The ways are not always mapped or charted, but sometimes being lost, if there is such a thing, is the sweetest place to be. And always, in this search, a person might find that she is already there, at the center of the world. It may be a broken world, but it is glorious nonetheless.” 30 likes
“Sometimes there is a wellspring or river of something beautiful and possible in the tenderest sense that comes to and from the most broken of children, and I was one of these, and whatever is was, I can't name, I can only thank. Perhaps it is the water of life that saves us, after all.” 9 likes
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