The Round House by Louise Erdrich – A Discussion (contains spoilers!)

the-round-houseThis book had such an interesting story line – A teenage boy’s (Joe) mother has been the victim of a brutal rape.  His family life has been completely turned upside down.  His mother refuses to talk about what happened and spends her days in a depressed and withdrawn state.  It is up to Joe and his young friends to find the answers that will put his mother’s attacher behind bars.

NOTES:

* I thought that the setting of the story (on a North Dakota Reservation in the 1980s) was particularly interesting.  I do not know much about Native American culture and thought that the author managed to convey the lifestyle of the characters through the setting extremely well.

* I loved the character of Joe.  Stories told through the eyes of a young boy are compelling.  The way interacts with his friends and his thoughts about his parents and justice made him a strong, believable character.

* The relationship between Joe and his father is quite touching.  Whilst all of his friends are either beaten or mistreated by their parents/family, Joe’s father is affectionate and treats him like an equal (when he shows Joe the case studies trying to find the mother’s attacker).

* Overall I really enjoyed the book – I found the ending quite abrupt, you don’t find out if the family ever repaired themselves or what happened to the minor characters.  However I do think that Joe & Cappy (Cappy is Joe’s best friend)  killing his mother’s rapist was a fitting end.

Favourite Quote from The Round House by Louise Erdrich

– ‘The ghost was standing at the edge of the yard, I said.  It looked almost like a real person.  Yes, they’re out there, my father answered.’

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