Book Review: The Round House

The Round HouseThe Round House by Louise Erdrich

The blurb: One Sunday in 1988, thirteen-year-old Joe Coutts learns that his mother has been the victim of a brutal attack by a man on their North Dakota reservation. Joe’s mother is traumatized and afraid. She takes to her bed, and refuses to talk to anyone – including the police; meanwhile his father, a tribal judge, endeavours to wrest justice from a situation that defies his keenest efforts; and young Joe’s moral and emotional landscape shifts on its child’s axis.

Frustrated, confused and nursing a complicated fury, Joe sets out with his best friends Cappy, Zack and Angus in search of answers that might put his mother’s attacker behind bars – and set his family’s world straight again. Or so he hopes. The Round House is a powerful and deeply humane story of a young boy pitched prematurely into an unjust adult world.

My review: This was a fascinating and immersive read, I couldn’t put it down. Joe’s character as the main narrator is a stroke of genius, not the first time a child has narrated a crime novel but the intricacies and family dynamics within the reservations is told wonderfully from his point of view.

The Round House not only offers a fascinating insight into the tribal laws within reservations in America in the 80′s but also the cultural and emotional family ties that are impacted by crime.

It’s descriptive and beautiful, you feel the heat of the hot summer days, the stickiness, the welcome intrusion of a large and extended family. The injustice of a defunct legal system that’s prejudiced against you from the start and the quiet pride of Joe’s father as he tries to change it one small step at a time. The ending is unexpected and traumatic. It reminded me slightly of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill – a really gripping book.

7.5 out of 10 stars! *******.5

BUY ME! The Round House

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