An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.

Rain Is Not My Indian Name

Rain Is Not My Indian Name - Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lori Earley

I enjoyed this book but not as much as I thought I would.

 

It's very short, but I found the story difficult to follow. That could be because I read it in several short bursts over the course of two days, but it seemed like the town meeting fell out of the sky. Was there any set up for that before it happened? I'll chalk that up to a reader error rather than an author one though.

 

There were some unnecessarily ethnicized things in the book (Chinese umbrella, Hawaiian style flower), and I didn't like the bulimia mention at the beginning of the book. It's possible to criticize the modeling industry in the US without bringing eating disorders into the conversation.

 

I did love that Cassidy Rain is just a normal kid. She likes photography and X-Files fanfiction (the book was published in 2001). I also like the fact that she is mixed-race, tired of dealing with people asking her "What are you?" but then participates in antiblack behavior* (wouldn't date a black person, touching a black person's hair, etc) and reacts in surprise when Flash reveals he's Jewish. It was refreshing to see all that intersection.

 

The story wraps up one plot point, but leaves a lot unresolved. That's probably the main reason I'd give it three stars. I wanted more resolution with the Indian Camp issue.

 

This is a book that I think I'll reread at some point. I'm not quite sure why it didn't click for me this time, but maybe next time will go better. It's good enough that I'd give it a second chance.

 

*I don't like antiblackness, but never showing antiblackness in books would be disingenuous and the narrative makes it pretty clear that antiblackness is not OK.