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There There
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Archive: Other Books > There There by Tommy Orange - 4 stars

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Ellen | 2137 comments This is the story of twelve people, Native American in different genealogical heritage, who are preparing to attend a huge powwow at the Oakland Coliseum. Some are going for happy reasons: a young boy, self-taught dancer, who will dress in regalia and perform for the first time; a grandmother, who is actually the great aunt, who secretly attends to watch the young boy; a shy man who is meeting his father for the first time; an earnest young woman who planned the event; a man who wants to learn the true stories of the Oakland Indians and record them for a book. Unfortunately there are a few who will attend for another reason: to rob the powwow of a reported $50,000. They will bring undetectable guns into the stadium and take what they want from their own people. We learn the backstories of all 12 people, their births, their struggles and their family, or lack of family, ties. You will not like all 12, but they all play an important role in the story's inevitable outcome.

This is a gritty and disturbing book that describes a culture and lifestyle that many readers will be unfamiliar with. There are a few sections that are non-fiction dealing with the history of the treatment of Native Americans throughout the years. Some of the characters are ambiguous about their heritage while others embrace it every day of their lives. It is difficult yet suspenseful to know where this story will ultimately end up because not all powwow attendees will survive. I was moved by this book and won't forget it for a long time, I'm sure. I recommend it, but be forewarned that it is definitely not a pretty little story.


message 2: by Jeremiah (new) - added it

Jeremiah Cunningham | 714 comments What caused you to give it four stars instead of five? Was there a particular aspect that pulled the rating down?


Ellen | 2137 comments It was a very uncomfortable read for me. The storytelling was superb but it was rather depressing.


Booknblues | 5779 comments I just finished it today. I gave it 5 stars, but I appreciate your discomfort.

Hopefully, I will get around to crafting a review.


message 5: by Jeremiah (new) - added it

Jeremiah Cunningham | 714 comments Ellen wrote: "It was a very uncomfortable read for me. The storytelling was superb but it was rather depressing."

I like this explanation. I find the difference between a four and five star often difficult to define. I think you captured what I feel at times.


Booknblues | 5779 comments I love a book that tears your heart out.


Ellen | 2137 comments Booknblues wrote: "I love a book that tears your heart out."

This book will certainly accomplish that.


message 8: by Joni (new) - added it

Joni | 612 comments Great review....i will have to give it a shot. :)


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5801 comments Tommy Orange is coming to my local indie bookstore in October. I can hardly wait.


message 10: by Meli (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meli (melihooker) | 3245 comments I am halfway through now and really enjoy it. I love a good book that is really in tune with the human experience. Even if you are not of native american descent, or from Oakland, this author taps into things that are universal to the human experience in a lot of ways.

Tommy Orange is coming to my local indie bookstore in October. I can hardly wait.

There was a rumor Tommy Orange may come to my local bookstore as well, I am near Purdue University, and I think he is friends with Roxanne Gay who teaches there. I don't think it is set in stone though, but I am hopeful!


message 11: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments I just brought this home last night. Can't wait to read it.


Booknblues | 5779 comments It is very good.


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