*Published August 2, 2018*
This was surprisingly good. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book, but it was one that called out to me just based on the description, so I thought I would give it a try.
Apple Starkington turned her back on her Native American heritage the moment she was called a racial slur. Not that she really even knew HOW to be an Indian in the first place. Too bad the white world doesn’t accept her either. So began her quirky habits to gain acceptance. Apple’s name, chosen by her Indian mother on her deathbed, has a double meaning: treasured apple of my eye, but also the negative connotation: a person who is red, or Indian, on the outside, but white on the inside. After her wealthy [white] father gives her the boot one summer, Apple reluctantly agrees to visit her Native American relatives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota for the first time, which should be easy, but it’s not. Apple shatters Indian stereotypes and learns what it means to find her place in a world divided by color.
I do kind of wish I had this book when I was younger. I am Native American, but I was raised white. Through no fault of my parents, I didn’t really know a whole lot about my culture growing up, just what I could see around our house and going to visit my cheii and nalí on the reservation growing up. I actually grew to know my culture more in college when I started taking Navajo language classes. But knowing that there were other kids out there like me, even if they were different tribes, I wouldn’t have felt as stuck, maybe. I honestly can’t tell you for certain, as I can’t play the “what if” game.
This book is about family and knowing when to reach out to your family. It’s about knowing that your family is always there for you, even if you’ve never met them before. Stories about family and reconnecting with your family, especially for young girls are some of my favourites. And this book is definitely out there for those who are like Apple, and who may be like me, just a little bit stuck in both worlds and yet not at all.