Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Reservation Blues (Alexie)

Title: Reservation Blues
Author: Sherman Alexie
Genre: Fiction (YA and Adult)
Pages: 306
Rating: 4 out of 5
Challenges: Book Group
FTC Disclosure: I bought this book
Summary (from the back of the book): One day legendary bluesman Robert Johnson appears on the Spokane Indian reservation, in flight from the devil and presumed long dead. When he passes his enchanted instrument to Thomas-Build-the-Fire--storyteller, misfit, and musician--a magical odyssey begins that will take them from reservation bar to small-town taverns, from the cement trails of Seattle to the concrete canyons of Manhattan. This is a fresh, luxuriantly comic tale of power, tragedy, and redemption among contemporary Native Americans.

Review: I was excited to read this book for my book group because I loved Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. However, I didn't enjoy this book as much as True Diary. I actually ending up skimming the last third of the book so that I could finish it last night (I know, bad confession).

Here's what I liked about this book: it's well written, the storyline is interesting, and the characters are fun and entertaining. I really like the way Alexie has quirky characters who are entertaining, but also seem to carry a message about life and human nature. The plot of Reservation Blues is an interesting one; tying in music, life on the reservation, and human relationships. It made me so sad that Thomas put up with the abuse at the hand of Victor. I realize that Victor was a bully and he had a hard life, but I just couldn't stand the pain he inflicted upon Thomas (though I thought it was really well written).

My problem with this book isn't really a reflection on Sherman Alexie or the book itself, but more on me and what I like or don't like in books. I am just not a mystical person (enchanted guitars, Big Mom up on the hill who seems to have lived forever, etc) and have a difficult time reading books that are that way. It's the reason I am not finding a book set in South America for the Global Reading Challenge. So, really, the part about this book that made me unhappy is my own issue. I think Alexie did a great job with this book, mystical story lines just aren't my favorite type of writing.

What do you think of mystical writing and stories?

5 comments:

Bonnie Jacobs said...

You may want to look on one of my other blogs, called "Book Around the World." I looked at the links on the sidebar and found two that have been recommended for South America that may (...MAY...) not be mystical. One is set in Uruguay and the other in Argentina, but others read and recommended them, not I.

http://bookaroundtheworld.blogspot.com/2008/02/uruguay.html

http://bookaroundtheworld.blogspot.com/2008/08/argentina.html

Jenners said...

You sound like my husband!!! He hates anything that is fantastical ... I'm OK with those kind of stories (or movies) but they need to be well-done.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Bonnie--Thank you so much for the link to your Around the World blog! I ended up ordering I am a Taxi.

Jenners--I have tried so many times to do the mystical thing but it just doens't work for me.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I think I will pass on this one. I too loved his other book but this one sounds a bit more than I want to wrap my head around right now. :)

Thanks for the review Helen!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Sheila--Mystical realism is a tough one if it isn't your type of book!