I chose to read There There, by Tommy Orange for ATY’s 2019 Reading Challenge prompt #45, a multi-generational saga. I think I first encountered this book when I read a review on Goodreads by one of the authors I follow. I can’t now remember which one wrote the review, but then I was intrigued enough to add it to my ever growing “want to read” list.
This book follows the lives of twelve Native Americans in and around the area of Oakland, California. These lives circle and weave around each other, their journeys ultimately, but separately leading toward a community pow wow. Through these characters, Orange brings to light many issues facing Native Americans – alcoholism, depression, domestic abuse, unemployment, fetal alcohol syndrome.
In writing about why he wrote this book, Orange says, “I wanted to have my characters struggle in the way that I struggled, and the way that I see other native people struggle, with identity and with authenticity.” Orange brilliantly brings the reader into the world of his characters, so that you can’t help but feel what they are experiencing. To say I was deeply moved by this story seems an understatement.
I think this is an important book. One very much worth reading. If you haven’t read it yet, I would urge you to check it out.