Sins of the Father

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Have you ever read The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carloyn Chute?

Love Medicine reminded me very much of that book.  Most likely because The Beans portrays family life that could be found not only in the backwoods of Maine, but in some neighborhoods of the Adirondacks, the cold reaches of the Dakotas, or as in Love Medicine, a Native American reservation.

An infinite loop of poverty, desperation, hard luck, the men drinking and in jail, the women always pregnant, a lot of children, most of them related in some fashion…

Lives interwoven, fates predetermined by lineage (sins of the father), many outlooks bleak…

This book was written in the late 80s and was well acclaimed then.  I picked it up at a used bookstore in the early 90s, knowing that it was one of those types of books that I needed to have read in my lifetime.  I have since passed by it on the bookshelf for a good 15 years, and never reached out to grab it.  And now am so glad that I did…

This book is not a page-turner.  It doesn’t grip you with suspense, or take you to a fantasy land of wizards and magic, nor does it promise love and a happily ever after story.  It is an honest account of Native American life, of which I did not know much of.  And it is a brutal honesty…

This book can now be found on all kinds of book lists; the bucket list of books, best books ever written, everyone should read lists, etc.

Love Medicine was important to me as an anthropological study of the life of the American Indian portrayed in a stark fashion.  And unless you are of Native American descent, you may not be very familiar with life on an Indian reservation, the culture, the beliefs, the pull of the ancestral land and of what lies beyond it.

After reading this book, you’ll be fascinated with it all…

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