I remember reading Love Medicine (1993) by Louise Erdrich for an English class in high school. I was probably too young and inexperienced to really appreciate it. I just vaguely remember some domestic violence and being disturbed. So, when I saw that The Round House (2012) was making news and getting good reviews, I was, at first, ambivalent about reading it. Fortunately, I let go of my high school ignorance and gave Erdrich another try.
Joe Coutts is thirteen years old during some of the most formative events of his life. He lives a pretty comfortable life on the Ojibwa Reservation as a much-loved only child of his father, Basil Coutts, an attorney and tribal judge, and his mother, Geraldine Coutts, a tribal clerk. When his mother is brutally attacked and raped, Joe’s stable family is abruptly and unexpectedly torn apart. His mother is suddenly not the same mother he’s grown up with his entire life, and his father is a distracted version of himself. Joe not only feels the loss of his parents, but the burden of responsibility for finding out who did this. To complicate things, Joe, who is still a child, is not privy to all of the details of the investigation. He faces a lot of confusion, fear, and frustration.
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