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The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
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's review
Mar 19, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, read-2009
Read in March, 2009

This is the story of Little Tree, a five-year-old boy who is brought up by his Cherokee grandparents after his mother dies. Although the introduction claims it's an autobiographical reminiscence, it is in fact fiction. Moreover, the author is not Cherokee; at one point he was apparently a member of extreme racist groups in the USA.

Nevertheless, it's a very well-written book. I gather that some of the details of Little Tree's life and Cherokee customs are not based on reality, but pure fiction; that would perhaps upset people from this background, but for me it was a delightful insight into a world I knew nothing about.

Moreoever, the book is very pro-Cherokee, and positive about Little Tree's experiences, educational and otherwise. White men are shown to be bigoted and legalistic, and Little Tree's brief foray into a boarding school is heart-breaking.

I can only assume that the author had repented of his former beliefs when he wrote it. Some critics consider the language offensive - it's written in a distinctive style, almost as if in five-year-old language at times. But for me, it added to the realism of the story.

All in all, I thought it a lovely book.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline I just read this at "The Education of Little Fraud" he was a psychopath and not Cherokee-

"Instead, he helped create a new and even more virulent organization, the original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy, whose members wore Confederate gray robes instead of white. In Carter’s view, the old KKK had become too soft and compromised. Various acts of violence were associated with the new Kluxers, the most famous being the assault on Nat “King” Cole at a concert in Birmingham in 1957. Less well known but far uglier was the 1957 abduction of a black handyman named Edward Aaron who had offended members of Carter’s group with inflammatory talk of forced integration. The abductors, never identified, sliced off Aaron’s scrotum and poured turpentine on his wounds. According to his childhood pal Buddy Barnett, Carter — who openly advocated violence in his speeches and articles — was appalled by the coldbloodedness of the attack. But Don Carter, who wrote a biography of George Wallace, took a darker view, saying, '[Carter] had a long history of violence, in fact, it’s not an exaggeration to call him something of a … psychopath.'"

Doris Jean Agree, yes, it is a lovely book - and tells how things really were.

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