Erika Wurth’s debut as an author was a tough read for me. It was tough not because of the story, but because of the story… I can see many of my female students living a life just like Margaritte (I am sure that some do with minor changes here or there). I am at a total lose as to what I should do with this book. I loved the relationship she had with her cousin, and the honesty from which it was written. However, I spent years in the military and I’ve been known to curse with the best of them at times, but the language is brutal and as I read I was distracted by the imaginary complaints from parents seeing the F bomb twice in the first sentence of the book. I think I would need to talk to parents specifically about the language in this book before recommending it for one of my students.
Having said that. I can see myself talking to several parents and guardians. There is simply too much truth in this book to keep it from my students. There are a plethora of real life problems that my students face that are mirrored in this book. As Sherman Alexie pointed out in Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, alcoholism is a huge problem for on reservations and is often suffered by those that find a way to leave the reservations as is the case of Margaritte’s father.
Teenage pregnancy is commonplace in Martin. There were three births to high school girls and fathers last year. And drugs, I could go on for days about the drug problems my students face. It is incredibly sad to know that drugs and alcohol have touched the lives of many of students. I had my students write a minimum of one page typed, per week last year. Many of my kids would talk about family members using drugs and alcohol. They would describe relatives passed out on the street or the sofa. It broke my heart. I think this is why this book is so hard for me to get behind. My students live this stuff. I don’t know that reading it is necessarily a good thing for all of them but I think it could really put some things in perspective for some of them.
I hate this book and I love this book. It is a catch 22 in written form.