Linda 's Reviews > Laughing Boy: A Navajo Love Story

Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge
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's review
Apr 09, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: books-i-own
Read in September, 2009

** spoiler alert ** I really enjoyed this touching story about a Navajo who falls in love with a Navajo girl who was raised and influenced by Americans. Slim Girl has been hurt by Americans, and when she meets Laughing Boy she sees him as her ticket back to her own people.

Laughing Boy loves and marries her, even though some of his clan disapprove and he has heard she has a bad reputation. While he lives with her near town, they share some of the conveniences and luxuries of the Americans (canned goods, whiskey, etc.) But at the same time, they realize that they are being corrupted and LB decides that while it may be an adjustment for SG to go back to the Navajo, in the long run they will be happier.

Slim Girl's history eventually catches up with her, but when Laughing Boy hears her whole story, he forgives and accepts her, recognizing that life without her would be meaningless for him. In the (tragic) end, he learns the lesson (cliche though it is): "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."

To me, the hardest part about this book was all the references to the unfamiliar Navajo gods/spirits/mythology, but I just skimmed through passages and tried not to get myself bogged down by it. It was valid to show how a Navajo mind relates everything to the spiritual world, but a little hard to follow at times.


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09/17/2009 page 70
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