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Bowman's Store: A Journey to Myself Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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From Kirkus Reviews
Bruchac (Eagle Song, 1997, etc.) tells of his life, with great compassion for those he loved and for the little boy he was, woven with Abenaki tales from his heritage. ``Sonny'' Bruchac lived with his grandparents in the Adirondack foothills of upstate New York, although his parents and younger sisters were not far away. In stories that spin out in the circular ripples of a pond, he chronicles his growing up, beginning each chapter with a First Peoples' story that illuminates what is to come. He was an undersized, bookish, lonely boy, but he was given extraordinary, sustaining love and wisdom from his grandparents. Readers see the furtive, unfolding truth about the grandfather's Abenaki heritage, a major family tragedy and terrible fear dealt with, the deep bonds with the landscape and wildlife. The writing soars, so well-crafted that readers might overlook that this is as much the story of the grandparents as it is Bruchac's own. Teenagers attempting to resolve their own family knots and tangles will find much here that is resonant, but Bruchac's triumph is in the emotional honesty and limpid strength of his working of the words. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Autobiography. 14+) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
His book conveys the true experience of folk tale and myth: stories shared within a context of community, empathy and personal interaction. -- The New York Times Book Review, Nina Jaffe
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Bruchac describes all of these stories, both of his own childhood and American Indian stories, in such a loving manner. His writing is both fast paced and elegant and his stories reach out and touch the reader's heart.
'Bowman's Store' resonated with me because of my own history. I was told that my great-grandmother was French Canadian. I never saw a photograph of her - or even knew one existed - until a cousin showed me a picture from one of her own family albums. There is no mistaking the ethnic background of the woman with the intricately beaded collar and sober mien; no doubt about that of the unknown child at her side. This discovery came long after my mother's death. There was no one left to whom I could address my many questions - no answers to be had.
The silence seems impenetrable. What were my great-grandmother's origins - and by extension - mine? I can't reach her. She's carefully hidden from view by the traditions of shame that were felt by later generations. The same kind of silence experienced by Joseph Bruchac.