Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley (author), Isabella Star LaBlanc (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, ISBN 9781250779519, March 2021

Daunis Fontaine is eighteen years old, daughter of a white woman and an Ojibwe  man, an unenrolled tribal member with much-loved family on both sides of the divide. She's had to delay her plans to head off to college with the goal of becoming a doctor, and eventually scientifically studying traditional medicines. Her uncle, her mother's brother died in what appeared to be a drug overdose, and then her maternal grandmother, GrandMary, had a stroke. Her mother needs her support.

It's a challenging time for her, but there's a bright spot--the new guy, Jamie Johnson, on her brother Levi's hockey team. Yet something about this nice guy does not quite add up.

Answers start to come only after Daunis witnesses a former friend, Travis, shooting his ex-girlfriend, Lily, Daunis's best friend, and then himself. Soon Daunis is recruited as a "confidential informant" in an FBI drug investigation, and is learning secrets she didn't necessarily want to know.

This is a really good, moving look at a girl just reaching maturity, coping with conflicted loyalties, competing obligations, and truths about her family that she didn't suspect and wasn't prepared for. It's a painful coming of age for her, and she has to find her own strength. She's not just deciding where her loyalties really lie and what her values really are; she also has to decide what serving those loyalties and values really means. It feels very real to me as the story of a young woman at this point in her life, where she can no longer just trust her elders but has to  make her own choices even if it divides her from people she cares about.

I'm in no position to evaluate the accuracy of the Native American aspects of the story, but the author is an enrolled member of the tribe she's writing about, and it seems to have been well received.

It's a really excellent book, and the narrator did a very good performance of it, also. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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