From Publishers Weekly
Veteran narrator Rosenblat displays remarkable vocal versatility in narrating Dorris's cross-generational story of three Native American women in Montana who must come to grips with the past. Divided into three first-person narratives, the book follows teenage Rayona; her mother, Christine; and her grandmother, who both the others call Aunt Ida. Rosenblat gives each a distinct voice, perfectly capturing the youthful yet determined attitude of Rayona and the wizened, sardonic tone of her mother. The syncopated, husky voice she adopts for Aunt Ida, who is said to have a pronounced accent, isn't spot-on, but it isn't distracting either. Ida's story is the shortest of the three, and Rayona's is the longest and most immediate, as the other two are actually monologues that supplement and expand on the events of the first part of the book. Rosenblat ably gives voice to the secondary characters, switching easily from a chummy, awkward priest to the bullying young Foxy Cree, but it is her excellent portrayal of dopey, sweet Sky and world-wise Evelyn, a couple who take in Rayona when she runs away, that serves as an index to the overall quality of this laudable production.
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-Michael Dorris's first novel (Turtleback, 1987) comes to life in this fully voiced reading by Barbara Rosenblat. At 15, Rayona is left by her Native-American mother shortly after her African-American father walks out of their lives again, and this time probably forever. Rayona tries to tolerate life with her grandmother, known by all as Aunt Ida, but when the mission priest sexually harasses this tough but insightful young woman, she leaves the reservation and finds her way into a new life in a Montana state park. After a few weeks' idyll as a maintenance worker sheltered by former hippies, Rayona returns to her mother, Christine. The narrative switches to become an account of how Christine came to be the person Rayona has known. Aunt Ida raised Christine on the reservation, along with Christine's younger brother Lee. Lee's best friend, Dayton, plays a significant role in Christine's life right through the time of Rayona's return years later, but Lee dies as a youth in Vietnam. In the novel's final movement, Aunt Ida's brief but substantial story unfolds[...] Rosenblat gives each of these women-ranging in age from youth through old age-a strength of voice that matches their strengths of character. The symbol of the philandering priest is unfortunately resonant now, but the novel's highly developed iconography of color and elemental forces continues to stand as a literature teacher's friend. Dorris' work lends itself particularly well to oral delivery, and this production is stellar.Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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