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From These Ashes Kindle Edition
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|Length: 212 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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That said, I love cults. I love Native stories. It sounded interesting and I love first novels. I picked it up as something to read while attempting to not fall asleep at work and promptly spent the next five hours staring at my Kindle, forgetting I needed to take a lunch break, and periodically typing "HOLY CRAP" at my friends in AIM about this book.
**MAY CONTAIN MILD SPOILERS**
The characters are REAL. They stand out from the page as their own person, a three dimensional work with individual quirks and secrets. Tim is quiet, mild tempered, desperate for love and acceptance and I seriously just wanted to reach through the machine to hug him. Naomi is a cynical girl who learns how to cope with the problems of her mother and the hurt of her brother, standing up to everything she loves when she feels something is going a step too far. Their mother - my family has a history of drinking and I can tell you she is very well rounded.
The villain of the story has her own reasons, her background, her justifications, and it almost gets to the point where you can understand her, can see WHY she would do these things. Like I said, the characters are human.
First novel or not, Ritter paints a world of color and darkness simultaneously. The unfair lives of the Native people, coping mechanisms, of the different places visited in the book. The world is not kind to those that don't fit into the status quo and she shows how damaging it can be to hurt so badly so young - or old. There is hope, too, sprinkled throughout it and the relationship between Tim and Naomi is beautiful. They love each other completely and even when the sky falls down around them, they do what they can to support each other.
I highly recommend this for anyone looking for an excellent coming-of-age tale, or wanting a story of sibling love, cults, of overcoming adversity, of trying to find yourself.
Five stars and I look forward to the next book by this author.
I am this book's target audience. I know a lot of the places it goes and, while Tim and Naomi's stories are their own, they're part of a greater narrative with which I was already familiar. That made the book very compelling for me because it's so honest. Ritter's characters always ring true, as does the world she depicts. It's a cold, despairing world at times, but there's a lot of hope and promise, too, which makes the whole thing very beautiful even when it hurts. There really are no villains, just people who are better and people who are worse and a lot of people who are just trying to find something that fits.
The writing is heartfelt and nuanced. I never felt like I was wading through the narrative or getting bogged down. It is definitely not a children's novel - there's violence and sex and substance abuse and profanity, as you'd expect from a writer who doesn't shy away from reality. While the novel is fiction, my feeling as I got deeper into the story was that I was reading about life. That is always a sign of great writing.
I'll be honest: while I unquestionably give this book five stars, I know not everyone will have my profound emotional response. I definitely recommend From These Ashes to anyone looking for a good read, but your mileage may vary. If you like Native lit, road trip stories, coming of age stories, or stories from the American west, I'm sure you'll love it. Even if the world Ritter depicts is totally removed from your experience, it'll be an enthralling read. And if you, like me, know something of the cloth from which this story was cut? You'll be so glad you picked it up.
This book is so full of emotion, discussing abuse, rituals on the modern day Indian reservations. Also gives insight into racial profiling.
Well worth reading.
The stories of a brother and sister are told side-by-side and provide context to one another despite the distance of time and space between them. I found myself trying to solve the main puzzle--where is Tim? how did he end up in the woods? why does he have amnesia?--and failing utterly, which just goes to show how clever the author is!
The examination of reservation life, family violence, youth homelessness, and the seeming-safety of a cult are all done sensitively and with several dimensions. Ritter never loses sight of the fact that kids and young people adapt to what they experience, and that their interpretations of events aren't what outsiders would assume.
A wonderful, deep read. I highly recommend it.
Most recent customer reviews
I thoroughly loved this book.