Brian's Reviews > Keeper'n Me

Keeper'n Me by Richard Wagamese
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's review
Aug 21, 2011

it was ok
Read from September 20 to 27, 2011

For all its failings as a novel (lack of conflict, lack of plot, lack of relevant action, lack of subtlety, lack of likable characters) Keeper'n Me is a good sermon. It is politically correct and spiritually uplifting. What it lacks in romance, it excels in ritual to the point of becoming an interminable infomercial. Bursting at the seams with folk humour and wisdom, it teeters on the edge of parody, something the badly maligned (by Wagamese) CBC pulled off so much better with its "Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour." A half hour of Keeper would have been sufficient. A few hymns. A scripture. A group hug for sure. The message is one that I could applaud: the generosity and respect shown by Natives to a lost sheep returned to his fold is cause for celebration whether it's told in painfully Broken English, Ojibway, or the King James Version. I don't dispute for a second the truth of his vision, but it saddens me greatly that it falls so terribly short of what it might have been.
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message 1: by rn (new) - rated it 5 stars

rn tmssn you do reference dead dog cafe, so you know tom king.
he wrote this thing:

and talks about associational literature. so the failings part, as i am seeing it is that the novel fails to satisfy the assumptions of what a novel is supposed to do. but it just operates differently than you expect it to. somehow i really liked it.

Brian Thank you for the link. I read it quickly, but I think understand where you're coming from. I'm not fond of "judging" books because I recognize how subjective that process is. Four years later, I might like Keeper more. (I really can't remember what it was about; I loved the title; I loved Medicine Walk which I finished a few weeks ago.) This site seems to be about "judging" as well as helping publishers stay in business. I'll admit that I no longer have to evaluate works on the basis of what an author intends. I read for fun. I also write for fun. I'm old; I do everything for fun. I spent a good part of my life living on or near reserves in Northern Ontario and I have a great respect for however ininiwak choose to express themselves. Respect doesn't always translate into enjoyment unfortunately. I'm more than a bit locked into my wemistikoshoak experience. But I do appreciate you taking the time to comment and I did enjoy the King essay. Hey, you might like Three Day Road by Boyden. I did.

message 3: by rn (new) - rated it 5 stars

rn tmssn thanks for the recommendation. i really liked what i have read of boyden. at the moment i'm really digging into a book of king's earlier short stories: and i will also recommend to you 'the one about coyote going west,' also by tom king. i found it in a book called 'good story, that one.' it's especially fun. and short. but has a similar frustration of what we as westerners expect from a story. it just does something we aren't used to. less hugging than in keeper too.

oh - i had to look up those long words you wrote - i think our literary expectations have precious little to do with our DNA. i'm a white guy from winnipeg, last i checked. and how did it get to be almost april so fast?

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