I completed There There for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge. This months prompt was read a debut novel. There There is a highly acclaimed debut for Tommy Orange. I was looking forward to it because it had aspects that I don’t usually read about. However, it fell a little flat in my opinion. Let’s discuss.
This novel follows twelve members from Native American communities. They all are traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow. They are all connected in ways they don’t realize. The voices come together to paint a picture of the struggles of today’s urban Native American.
I have a lot of conflicting thoughts. Lets start with my main issue. I had a hard time keeping the twelve characters separate. Their lives were so similar that very few details stood out. I understand that having the same background will cause similarities, to an extent. But the details in most of the characters’ lives were almost identical. I think it would have been more effective if they had have had more differences. In my opinion, it did not feel like it gave a diversified representation of Native American’s lives today. It only gave a representation of a few.
My other problem was that events happened with little motivation. I don’t want to spoil it, but right at the climax during what we knew was going to happen the plot changed. It came out of left field and I don’t know why it happened and it was never explained. We did not have much perspective from the character that changed the events so I don’t know what his thought process was.
My last issue was the fact that there was no closure. A lot of characters just stopped being represented and the end. The ones that were represented were left with open ended story lines. So I really don’t have a grasp of the outcome of the book.
Now for the positives. It was not a bad book. I finished it. The point of views were interesting despite their similarities. It was also interesting seeing how the characters connected. Some of that you didn’t find out until the end and that was satisfying. I also liked how unique the story was. I personally have not read many books set in the view point of a Native American. Much less a modern day Native American.
I hope to see more work from the author in the same vein. I am sure growth and experience will perfect his work into something I will truly love.
My Rating: 3 stars