Friday, December 14, 2012

The Round House by Louise Erdrich ***

I finished this book a couple weeks ago, but have simply been too lazy to review it.  But the news coming out of Connecticut today has somehow spurred me into getting this done.  I suppose it has to do with the violence.  How can someone do this to a group of children?  These were probably kindergartners.  I cannot fathom the hatred this young man must have felt for his mother to kill not only her but her students. 
This book opens with a violent act, & as it progresses you see how violence begets violence, fear & hatred.  Joe is 13 years old & lives on an Indian Reservation in North Dakota.  The year is 1988, a year I remember well.  It starts with a boy who is a typical teenager with typical worries & joys.  And it shows how one act of violence changes him, takes away that innocence that President Obama referred to today in his speech.  He will never be the same.
Joe & his father, a tribal judge, are doing yard work on a weekend when they realize that Joe's mom, Geraldine, has been gone a long time for just picking something up at the office.  They get in the car to look for her & pass her coming back home.  But something is wrong.  When they pull up at home she won't get out of the car.  When the men try to get her out, the awful truth starts to sink in.  She's been raped.  A violent & horrible act.  As his father drives them to the hospital, Joe sits in the back seat with his mother's head on his lap.  And his world is forever changed.  He will not be the same.
The Round House is about how we deal with our rage.  What's the correct way?  I certainly don't know.  I know if I were one of the parent's of the children who were murdered today in Connecticut, I'd want to hurt someone.  But what do you do when the one who did the killing is dead already?  There's no one left to hate.  How do you continue to live? 
I will be thinking of those families.  I hope they find peace someday.  I have no idea how they will, though.