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Two Old Women, 10th Anniversary Edition: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival Paperback – June 29, 2004


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Two Old Women, 10th Anniversary Edition: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival + Raising Ourselves: A Gwich'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River + Bird Girl and the Man Who Followed the Sun
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial; Reprint edition (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780060723521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060723521
  • ASIN: 0060723521
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (211 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This novel of two Native American women abandoned by their tribe in the Alaskan Yukon won the 1993 Western State Book award.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-Velma Wallis adapted her prize-winning book (HarperPerennial, 1993) from a tale she first heard from her mother, an Athabascan Indian in the Alaskan Yukon. Its transition into audio format is impressive: taken from oral tradition, it's tellable and starkly poetic, while the deep rich voice of narrator Russell Means with his Native American inflections does much to enhance its power and authenticity. The story is compelling. Abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine, two old women are left to perish on their own. Although they've grown used to complaining and letting others do for them, the two resolve not to wait passively for death but to fight against it. With trapping skills they haven't used for years and strengthened by their bond of friendship, the two women survive the winter to ultimately come face to face with the members of their tribe, none of whom has fared as well as they. Utterly convincing in its details and resolution, this will offer listeners in seventh grade and up vivid insight into a Native American culture. At the same time, it rises above the particulars of time and place to become a metaphor with a message or inspiration not only for students, women or the elderly, but for all members of the human race.
Carol Katz, Harrison Public Library, NY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys a short and interesting read.
Ley
Empowering to women, this is a wonderful story of courage and strength in the face of hardship.
Rhiannon NosTylluan
This is a book I re-read every year and enjoy it more and more with each reading.
"cathy38"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Joyce Schwarz on July 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book -- fairly short and a great gift for grandma. It tells how age does give us wisdom. A nice birthday book for anyone over 30. And especially for someone in their 50's and above. Grandma will love it. Why don't we cherish the seniors in our lives? The author Velma Wallis is one of a family of 13 children born in the fur-trapping Fort Yukon Alaska raised in the Athabaskan values. She wrote her book at 33 in a simple yet polished style. Two Old Women have a life of their own. It's a wonderful Alaskan legend that would make a good movie. Fabulous for a reading group or to read aloud to your older children night by night in the winter. Or to your husband in front of the fire....great vacation reading too. Don't miss it-- just caught it by accident-- hope you do too.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By W. Jamison VINE VOICE on January 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
Two Old Women
by Velma Wallis

This is a wonderful little book with a moral that is timeless and timely. With more elder care being left to institutions families are no longer what they could be. We lose so much when we are no longer in daily contact with our elders so that they can continually pass on the lessons of experience. Without that we are left to go it again for the first time and that often means failure.

It also teaches us not to cease working hard just because we can get away with being lazy when others will do for us. Stop doing something and you lose the ability to do it. A muscle needs to be used to remain muscle. A mind needs to be used to remain a mind.

Thank you Velma for passing on your stories to us.

I would also like to point out to those that did not like this book that half of the equation is what you bring to the book. Our interpretation and appreciation of something results not only from what that is, but from who we are.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By John Keating on February 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a teacher, I appreciate a book that can be read by any student at any age level. The life lessons taught in this tribal legend are timeless. The story unfolds begging the question of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few or the one(Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn).

The chief of the tribe must make choices - difficult ones at that. The conditions are harsh, the two old women have been using their age as a tool to get the younger tribe members to serve their whims - they even fake some physical maladies to play upon the Peoples' compassion. This, it turns out, backfires on them. The chief makes the decision to banish them from the tribe to serve the needs of the trible. He is concerned that the women will bring the tribe down.

There are times when people in charge have to make decisions that are unpleasant - this is a reality.

The women are left to fend for themselves and the tribe moves on. The issues of family, societal expectations, and betrayal loom heavily in the reader's mind.

It brings about the discussion of modern society's obsession with youth and our disdain for those who are aged. Our nation's homes for the elderly are brimming - this book speaks to that issue. Getting old does not mean useless!

The women call upon lessons learned in youth to survive. They also discover that they need each other in more ways than one.

While the book is an easy read-don't let that mislead you into thinking it is not sophisticated fare. The life-lessons taught are important for everyone to learn and take to heart. I am astounded by this book! It gets my highest recommendation. Buy it-read it-learn from it.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on May 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Two Old Women by Velma Wallis is a story, not just about the adventures of two eold ones abandoned by the tribe in times of famine, but it is also a story about friendship and fighting against the odds. It is based on a Athabascan Indian Legend which the author is able to bring alive in her own words and, yet at the same time, keep the meaning and flavor of the tale pure and true. The copy I bought, in Icy Strait Point, Alaska, was the Tenth Anniversary Edition. First published in 1993 it now seems to be in every book store I saw while visiting Alaska. The drawings by Jim Grant just add to the enjoyment of reading the story.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Newman VINE VOICE on September 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I come from the viewpoint of a thirtysomething male and this story and it's morals are definitely not lost on me. Given the same situation of abandonment and betrayal and I think I would have had a difficult time pressing on. I was humbled by the humanity of this story.

Velma's prose is clean and wonderfully readable. It is not a terribly long story and often felt like juvenile fiction because of the large type and illustrations, but it is a tale that all ages can and should enjoy.

I am buying several copies for local retirement homes and schools. I am interested to see the reactions from both groups.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Barbara C. Phillips on June 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have just finished this wonderful little book for the third time in as many years. Each time I read it, I am reminded how much our thoughts affect our reality and how much stronger we really are (despite our beliefs). This very positive story tells how two women (ages 75 and 80) are presented with a life threatening challenge, change their belief system out of need, and end up thriving. I think I'll keep this as an annual read - I need all the positive reinforcement I can get!
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