So far, my favorite part of Spring Break has been reading time. Specifically, reading a book that’s not related to school in any way.
I just finished Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. It’s a tragic and beautiful story about a few generations within a Native American tribe, the Chippewas. Each chapter is more like a vignette that focuses on one of the family members, and through their eyes and experiences, the reader pieces together the history of the families. While the story enlightens the reader about Chippewa traditions and myths, it also focuses on aspects of families that exist across cultures: love and betrayal.
Erdrich’s prose and the story plot kept bringing me back to one of my favorite books: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The writing is whimsical yet powerful, and the story follows family generations to show how our family roots contribute to our destiny. That there are parts of us we cannot change.
What I loved most about Erdrich’s story, is the flawed characters. They are so very human. Unapologetically human. The most mystical women have the most tragic effects on the men they are closest to, whether they be lovers or sons. The most proud fall the hardest. The most privileged end up getting screwed the most.
Erdrich has a gift for wrapping the often ugly stories in the most beautiful, whimsical way.
I read another of her books, Tracks, in college for an Ethnicity in Literature class. It’s a continuation of the stories of these families, and it’s filled with even more mysticism. I highly recommend both.