Crystal's Reviews > Waterless Mountain

Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer
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Mar 25, 12

bookshelves: newbery
Read from March 22 to 24, 2012

1932 Newbery Award Winner

Really not great. I found it boring and the writing stilted. It seemed she was trying to write in "Indian speak" or something. I also found it covertly racist. It wasn't in your face, but that is almost worse because then people think that they are actually getting a true picture.

Here are some of the things that were a problem. You will see that white people are fantastic if you read this. Page 7, "Younger Brother thought he had never seen so kind a face and he knew right away that the Big Man must be a medicine man. He could feel power shining through the blue eyes, and tingling in the fingers that touched his head." When Younger Brother experiences flight in an airplane he says, "Now I know that white men are mightier than Navahos. We can ride and shoot and work with silver, but we cannot fly." Also, in one instance, the Navaho are singing. This is how it is described, "The Navaho voices, in weird, falsetto tones, greeted the morning." p. 191 Is that really how they would represent themselves?

And at Christmas when the children come to the trading post - p. 64. "They were such wild little children they felt uncomfortable, even afraid" when faced with a tree inside a building. When a white woman is sad, the Navajo collect money and give it to her to help her child pay to come home. She says, "Didn't I always say the spirit of Christmas would win even a savage?" Savages - nice. They were compassionate human beings. She should be surprised by this? Ack.

Anyway, I was not impressed. In the foreword, we are told that the author was able to "come unusually close to these people in a very short time." I wonder how long she was there and how much of an expert she was to have spoken for a whole people like this.

There were enough red flags that I checked out what Debbie Rees had to say about it and she wasn't impressed either. http://collectingchildrensbooks.blogs...

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