PREVIEW AND ORDER
“This is a very, very interesting book that combines fiction and biographical narrative. The beginning is stunningly written; as the story unfolds the writing changes back and forth (and back) from lyrical to matter-of-fact to lyrical, and so on. This works well. The main character, Winnow Sticks, is truly engaging; her story is often heartbreaking yet she seems ever-hopeful. I was on her side and cheering for her (“You can do this!”). The story can be difficult to read because of the frankness of the narrative. It does end on a note of empowerment (and I found myself holding my breath as I read the last few pages, hoping she would be all right) and,really, optimism about a yet unseen future.”
–LindaLeGarde Grover is an associate professor of American Indian Studies at UMD and a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, author of two works of fiction, The Dance Boots and The Road Back to Sweetgrass.
“Girl Unreserved… put me immediately on a roller coaster ride of a fierce understanding that broke my heart again and again… Sometimes as the (main)character reflects we are gifted with poetry and short stories like one that starts: “Blue Bird was singing one morning welcoming the sun with much excitement…” which are exquisite and push us to read this story with our hearts. There are moments we embrace in celebration of healing for a moment we can laugh and grow with the character Winnow…
Thank-you Tashia Hart for your story and allowing Moccasin Tracks to read and review. We look forward to talking with you on community radio!”
—Moccasin Tracks WRUV 90.1 FM Burlington, VT
“If it hasn’t been said already, let me say it now. Tashia Hart will prove to be the next “Sherman Alexie” for her brilliant and raw novella, “Girl Unreserved”. Hart’s debut work is brutally honest in its portrayal of a young girl’s experience “coming of age” on and off the Red Lake reservation in Northern Minnesota. Not only is her prose poetic and at times, humorous; she is fearless when describing the most intimate details of “Willow’s” many challenges and traumas endured trying to find her place among two disparate worlds. At the same time, “Girl Unreserved” is an incredibly vulnerable piece of literature. Despite the author’s efforts to distance herself from the main character, it is always painfully clear that this is an auto-biographical story and the reader can’t help but to identify with “Willow Sticks”.
Often when discussing Native Literature, the question of “who’s the intended audience” comes up. Is it for an Indian reader, or a Non-Indian? Usually, when the author spends too much time describing stereotypical Native features using nature imagery (hair the color of a raven, eyes like a deer, etc.); it’s clear that the reader is not Native American. In Hart’s case, she has such an intimate narrative voice that it transcends this idea. She is clearly not concerned with whether or not the reader has prior knowledge of Native people, but it really isn’t necessary, either way, to become completely absorbed. Hart writing is truly “unreserved” in that it doesn’t dance around the truth.
“Girl Unreserved” dares to go where most stories about Native Americans don’t. Not since, “Love Medicine” by Louise Erdich have I read anything quite so compelling and painfully realistic as this book by Tashia Hart.”