References to the consequences of intentional cultural suppression and demeaning discipline in Native American boarding schools appear in the works of numerous Indian authors, including Louise Erdrich and Paula Gunn Allen. Now Riddle brings to life St. Nicholas School: "a composite of Native boarding schools" found in Canada and the U.S. during the 1950s, and presents a clear-eyed survivor of the system, Ruby Loonfoot, a 13-year-old Ojibwe girl. Through Ruby's eyes Riddle illuminates a harsh world in which young girls are removed from their Native homes, undernourished, humiliated, and in several instances sexually molested, all part of the painful process of sacrificing their Indian identity for a mainstream education. Although Ruby's mother is a boarding school graduate, a Catholic, and desperate to leave the reservation, her grandmother is a respected elder who strives until her death to pass on to Ruby not just tribal traditions, but a sense of pride. Riddle pulls no punches in this difficult, yet engrossing, novel about a coming-of-age made torturous by institutionalized racism. Deborah DonovanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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