Book Review :: A Yellow Raft in Blue Water

It has been a long time since I wrote a truly negative review, but yuck. yuck. yuck.

Told in three parts – daughter, mother, grandmother – Michael Dorris’ A Yellow Raft in Blue Water attempts – I think – to tell the story of what happens when the truth is hidden from generation to generation in a native American family. Because the reader doesn’t learn the truth until the grandmother’s tale, there’s so much presumption and suspicion that I had a hard time going backwards to make the pieces fit. What’s more, I didn’t care enough about the daughter or mother to want to make them fit.

What’s worse is that this is probably the worst “drop” of an ending I’ve read in a long time. Short of ending mid-sentence, I don’t know how to end more abruptly.

The title alludes to a raft where the daughter is inappropriately touched by a priest – a scene that is completely beyond belief the way that it is written. And it seems like this would be some huge metaphor that is a common thread throughout (I mean who puts ‘water’ in a title without it being a symboll) but if so, I didn’t get it. And I’m usually pretty astute to metaphors.

I’m making this review short and sweet, but if you’ve read this and feel differently, please let me know. Since I took the time to read it, I’d love for someone to help me make sense of it.


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