Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday's Post

I heart Love Medicine. If Louis Erdrich was a man, I'd want to have her babies. I just love her ability to wrap humor in such a sobering story like Love Medicine. I've never laughed at a book like I did when I got to the end.

I like Louis Erdrich as an American Indian author because, unlike James Welch, she doesn't play into stereotypical speech and brings up contemporary issues on and off the reservation. She is able to create this complex story that incorporates critical things like alcoholism and poverty on the reservations as well as bring up issues with Indians that leave the reservation. I would say she is very much the female counterpart to Sherman Alexie, although Alexie's humor is difficult to compete with. I also like this book as a text for class because it is a collection of stories on two families. This means the perspective changes from girls, boys, adults and children. It appeals to a broad audience and the use of symbolism is brilliant.

I liked this chapter for a couple reasons outside of getting to read about Love Medicine. The first was that it actually showed the application of a multicultural text and the discussion the class had. I liked how it used several different text examples and how they can be discussed in the class.

I also liked that it discussed other issues present in Erdrich's novel, for example Catholicism, as other topics for discussion in the multicultural genre. This was crucial to me, because sometimes when we talk about multicultural literature, it seems like we can only focus on one aspect that makes it multicultural. This was part of my argument before on choosing multicultural texts. With Erdrich's novel the students were able to talk about multiculture in terms of American Indians, Catholicism, as well as age and gender. Up until now, it seems like if we do choose a multiculture text, we choose it for only one reason. I'm not sure if that's how it's actually practiced, but it seems like it is when it's discussed sometimes. This chapter gave me an idea of how I can adequately use a novel for multiple topics.

I don't have too much else to say about it. I'm sorry this is a short post. I absolutely love American Indian literature, so it was fun reading about Erdrich's book.

So! I've got resources for American Indian books below to make it seem longer.

The first is a link to a professor I had during my undergrad, David Treuer. I had him for my American Novel class and he was great. Once he went on a rant about people who hang dream catchers in their car, "Are we supposed to assume they sleep in their cars?" He also lectured us as a class on how we did not get out enough as he clearly saw more movies than anyone else present at the time. But really, he was an incredible instructor, and I should say I felt quite inferior to him. I also sold my soul to him as he wrote one of my recommendations to get into the grad program and may have single-handedly gotten me into it. Thank you, I owe you my life.

This is an interview with Louis Erdrich, that really kind of beats out all entertainment value in her novel and Minneapolis, but it's pretty recent. I swear, her books are way better than this interview would lead you to believe.

And finally, an interview with Sherman Alexie, on his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. He reads quite possibly the best part in the book and does it well. I love him too.


  1. Hola Ms. Maggie -
    I cannot stop thinking about Sherman Alexi's book... every now and then something from the book reappears in my head and causes me to me simultaneously laugh and say auuh out loud, which causes whoever is near me to say "what?". What a gift to tell a story like that. Calling it a gift implies that there is no hard work involved in creating the story, and I know that authors work hard at their craft - so maybe I should say skill instead of gift - but some authors possess both skill and gift. I passed the book to my 12 year old mutant-middle-school- daughter this morning to see what she thinks. She in turn gave me something called The Tapestry: Book 1, The Hound of Rowan. I'll let you know how it goes. My 8 year old is sitting outside in the yard, hanging with her guniea pig, Linus (who has bed head), reading under a giant, pink, plastic, bubble umbrella. I hope they are getting enough oxygen in there.

    I got to hear Louise Erdrich read at a birthday party that I worked at several years ago. The party was for a poet, and the guests read poetry and told or read stories at a microphone all evening. It was incredible! That was back in my days of catering - great job if you have voyeuristic tendencies. Which apparently I do.

    A quick comment on the guy who wrote your letter of recommendation for grad. school: I approached 2 of my mentors - from what at times seems like a life time ago - and they wrote letters for me. The letters literally made me cry - and for good reasons, not bad reasons!! I kept copies of the letters, and when I am feeling down and ineffective I treat myself to reading a sentence or two.

    I can imagine how students feel when they see them selves reflected through the eyes of a teacher who thinks they are terrific.

  2. I appreciate that you brought up religion here. It also came up in class a couple of times, and is leading me to think about some more articles/activities/whatever on religious culture. Especially when talking about multicult lit, we tend to just equate that to writers of color. But it doesn’t just have to be about race—it is sexuality, religion, gender, class, language, everything.