Title: Montana 1948
Author: Larry Watson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 182
This is such a sad and powerful book. At first I had trouble getting used to the writing style and found it a bit dry, but soon I into it and then it was hard to put this book down. Montana 1948 is about a boy named David whose Sioux housekeeper accuses his uncle, a respected doctor, of sexually assaulting Indigenous women. When the housekeeper is found dead under suspicious circumstances, David’s father fights his own racism to discover the truth and bring his brother to justice.
David’s dad ended up being a lot stronger than I had expected. I thought he would enable his brother and at first he does, but David’s mom pushes him to take a moral stand even though it has devastating consequences for their family. I liked the moral ambiguity of the characters and how even though David’s dad was prejudiced he still felt the need to do what was right.
The uncle wasn’t a cartoon cut-out villain and his callousness was very believable, as was the blame placed on his victims. I thought this book was extremely relevant and it touches on a lot of issues that are still going on today, with both racism and violence committed against women. This is the first novel I’ve read by Larry Watson and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.
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