Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Falling Down and Falling Apart

Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
Weight: 11 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating—possibly here : http://www.wpbp.org/pages/book.html or somewhere like it. Donating to women’s prisons was suggested by a friend, and I am definitely interested if I can figure out how to do it.

Sherman Alexie will always hold a special place in my heart. I was first introduced to his writing while attending Agnes Scott College. He was a particular favorite of Dr. Guthrie. The first book of his I read was The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and I loved it. That was required reading for two of my classes over a time frame of four years, and each time I found different words to cling to and various “meanings” depending on where I was at in my own head. In my senior year, I would write one of my final papers about Reservation Blues. I also collected and read everything else I could find by the man while I was in school.

I was really into Reservation Blues when I read it but, unfortunately, I was not yet into Blues. This led for a very disjointed and dull paper on music and the written word. I tried. I read several books on Blues, and I bought the CD Sherman Alexie made with Jim Boyd to coincide with the book. I enjoyed the music and tortured my then-girlfriend with it every time we got into the car. It was much better than the Eddy Clearwater CD I bought for $13, by accident, when I was seeking out the real album. Much better.

The book itself blends together life on a Spokane Indian Reservation, the magical guitar of Robert Johnson, and the desperation of the garage band that brings it all together. As usual, for Alexie, the book is witty, fun to read, hilarious, angry, and heart-breaking. His writing is blunt and to the point, but beautiful. Each word is delivered with force and perseverance. The book is a multi-genre piece with songs, dialogue, music, activism, reality, and history seeping through the pages.

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