In this book we get a series of short stories of an indigenous family through the years which reveal to us the struggles and joys of being native. The stories deal with racism, alcoholism, domestic abuse, financial and healthcare challenges as well as pride and tradition. Each story involves Ever and his various relations in Oklahoma: parents, siblings, children, grandparents, aunts, cousins and his impact on their lives.
We learn a lot about the dynamics of the different tribes. The throughline of Ever’s life is the importance of his family, his community and his identity. There are times when he strays away and his life gets worse but when he pulls in his support system, he flourishes and brings joy to those around him. Ever comes full circle from a violent, negative experience as a toddler to an angry, violent youth through to an adult counselling another angry youth to a calmer more fulfilled place.
What is most important is while we celebrate the differences and uniqueness of tribal life, we recognize how a lot of the experiences of this family are similar to those of any other culture. And I don’t say that to belittle the struggle and strife thrust upon generations of indigenous families but to say that it is easy to empathize with Ever and his family.
Thanks to Algonquin Books for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
I have actually spent some time in Tahlequah doing some outreach to get better eyecare for with people with diabetes. Do you prefer reading about places you’ve been and can envision or do you prefer experiencing places you’ve never been through reading?