6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2005
Bruchac crafts a moving story of a young boy's experience in a troubled home. Sonny's father, Jake, is plagued by episodic anger and is a wife batterer. The reasons for Jake's behavior and ultimately, sadness, are revealed near the end of the book. Sonny's mother and Uncle Louis provide the nurturing that Sonny needs as he navigates adolescence including the difficulties of being bullied and excluded at school. Uncle Louis becomes Sonny's true life teacher as he is exposed to both the mysteries and extraordinary beauty in nature. Bruchac's descriptions in these scenes are to be treasured.
The only failing in Bruchac's book is the odd addition of eugenic experimentation as the source for the explanation of the family `secret'. This plot twist is unnecessary and disrupts the wonderful flow of the story as Sonny discovers his true ethnic heritage. The reader would be helped if Bruchac could explore the history of eugenics in Vermont within a different story that provides a more complete explanation of what happened and who was affected. Tagging this on to `Hidden Roots' without a more thorough treatment is unsatisfying to curious readers.
Overall however, "Hidden Roots" is a beautifully written story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2009
This is a fantastic book. I really like Bruchac's writing. The afterwords, which includes the historical details that the book is based on, is fantastic for anyone looking to teach about contempory native peoples. There is, also, lots of good information on the Abenaki's, which is excellent for teaching about New England and some Canadian native peoples.
on November 1, 2012
I had to read this for a class, but if I'd known about it, I would have read about it in my free time anyways. This was a very informative and touching book about how Native Americans have integrated into "mainstream" culture, while still sometimes holding on to their own cultures and traditions.
The subtle background regarding the Vermont Eugenics Project is tragic and horrifying, and I wish that more people were aware of what our own country tried to do (and sometimes did do) to people they felt were "undesirable".
Joseph Bruchac has written a memorable story and I recommend it to anyone....Teachers - this is a great book to introduce to your students about the stereotypes about Native Americans and about what they're actually like today.
on March 5, 2012
I like this book for the fact that it brings up the topic of "Breeding Better Vermonters", involving sterilization and other horrible mistreatment of the Abenaki people in Vermont all the way up through the 1970's, which still remains unknown to so many people. It's a quick read (good for kids), but could definitely use the eyes of an editor to revise for spelling and typographical errors.