Fire Keeper’s Daughter
Henry, Holt and Co.
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“Kindness is something that seems small. But it’s like tossing a pebble into a pond and the ripples reach further than you thought.”
A book as beautiful as it’s cover. Deeply affecting and well written. This ownvoices debut novel quickly drew me in. As it weaves together Native culture and traditions, mystery, young love, and grief and loss, I was wholly invested in this story.
“Reading allows us to see and understand the world through the eyes of others.” -Chris Riddell
Rich with culture, Boulley’s writing opens a window into life on Sugar Island, allowing us to see the blessings and challenges of the Ojibwe. The traditions, the language, the medicine, the strong sense of family, the euchre games at the senior center…I felt as though I was in their midst, enjoying (loving, adoring) and learning (completely enrapt) from each detail. The legal inconsistencies, the harassment of women, the drug infestation, the tension within the tribe, the tensions that comes from outside the community…I became enraged and disheartened on their behalf, wanting justice and change. Boulley has well honored her roots in this novel.
As a young, biracial woman, Dauny struggles to fit in. She connects deeply to her Native roots, yet she isn’t quite accepted there, not being a member of the tribe. As tragedy strikes the Ojibwe, Daunis agrees to become a confidential informant for the FBI.
Dauny is an easy to love character. She is strong (physically and mentally), incredibly smart (almost to a “nerdy” level), and loves deeply. Daunis is exactly the female heroine you want to root for. But Granny June might be my favorite character. “Everything she says is either raunchy or a quote from a fortune cookie.” Granny June is quick witted yet it’s her wisdom and compassion that stand out.
Ultimately, the mystery wasn’t much of a mystery. The overall outcome becomes pretty evident early on. But don’t let that dissuade you. This is a book you read for the rich culture and adept characterization, both of which are done extraordinarily well.
For BOTM fans, Firekeeper’s Daughter is available through Book of the Month. I’ll be eagerly awaiting Boulley’s next novel for a chance to return to Sugar Island. Happy reading friends!