**spoiler alert** This was a really great, highly enjoyable read. Erdrich's writing is, as many critics have said, poetic and deeply influenced by the**spoiler alert** This was a really great, highly enjoyable read. Erdrich's writing is, as many critics have said, poetic and deeply influenced by the Native American storytelling tradition. Her characters — riddled with foibles and all-too-human shortcomings — could come out unlikable in another writer's hands; but when presented in Erdrich's prose, even the ethically ambiguous Gerry and unfaithful Nector endear themselves to the reader.
With that said, however, the sheer multitude of characters in this novel can be a bit overwhelming. Love Medicine is a formidable undertaking on Erdrich's part, and the interrelatedness of the characters' lives necessitates attentive reading. That's where Erdrich's family tree comes in handy. I personally used it to help keep the characters straight in my head, especially in the beginning of the novel, when June, Albertine, Marie, Zelda, Gordie, King Sr., Lynette and King, Jr. (Howard) appear in quick succession.
Each character in this book has a distinct voice. I personally found Lulu's narratives to be the most engaging: her voice is clear, honest and richly detailed. Marie's account of her time at Sacred Heart Covenant is good, as well.
Themes of love, loss and religion permeate the pages of Love Medicine. However, even as Erdrich depicts tragic events, she still injects light-hearted humor into the telling. A case in point is Nector's death, which comes as the result of a store-bought frozen turkey's heart passed off as love medicine. Considering the preceding events, there's a certain poetic justice in Nector choking to death on fake love medicine.
Overall, Love Medicine is a well-written exploration of contemporary reservation life. It's frank, honest and heartfelt. Although not a "life-changing" novel by any means, it is still worth a read....more
I loved reading this; admittedly, it was difficult (but not as difficult as Faulkner) and dense. But the reward was well worth it. Toni Morrison is aI loved reading this; admittedly, it was difficult (but not as difficult as Faulkner) and dense. But the reward was well worth it. Toni Morrison is a brilliant thinker, and her wonderfully complex thought process is represented well in Beloved. Narratively, Beloved takes its inspiration from the true story of Margaret Garner, a former slave who killed her own children to save them from lives of slavery.
However, it is on the philosophical and critical level that Beloved shines for me. The theme of agency — and particularly of feminine agency — plays a key role in Sethe's development as a character. It's fascinating to see how Morrison uses Sethe's story to reconceptualize the idea of a female agency which was in Sethe's era one severely circumscribed by the prevailing view of women — and especially of black slave women — as chattel and breeders lacking a sense of individual power.
Beloved is definitely worth a good, long read. Morrison has done an amazing job of exploring the true psychological impact of slavery and its effect on the family dynamic. ...more