By Multicultural Review
When it was first published in hardcover by Dial in 1997, Bruchac’s memoir was named a Notable Trade Book in Social Studies. In it Bruchac describes his childhood, his adolescence, and the beginning of his career as a writer and storyteller. For most of his childhood he lived with his maternal grandparents, Jesse and Marion Bowman, who owned a roadside store in Greenfield, New York, where the author still lives today. Jesse Bowman was Abenaki, but he hid his heritage from young Joe because of the prejudice Indians faced at that time. In chapters that juxtapose traditional stories and events from his adult life with episodes from his childhood, Bruchac creates a sense of place and a portrait of a warm, close-knit family. While the Bowmans were forced to keep their heritage a secret, their grandson eloquently describes his efforts to uncover and to live that same heritage, and to teach it to his children.