Author Eddie Chuculate’s captivating, candid memoir for readers 14 and older narrates his childhood and adolescence in Oklahoma in the 1970s and ‘80s – his rich Creek and Cherokee heritage, “a life-time’s chain of transition.” He attended 14 schools by the time he entered grade nine, and experienced an unsettled family life as he and his siblings were repeatedly moved between their two sets of grandparents and their mother, depending on the state of the relationship between their mother and the man she lived with.
Growing up, Chuculate read much about Native Americans from areas throughout North America and realized that none of their stories defined his experiences in Middle America as a child “whose story does not come from a place of trauma.”
With a keen eye for details, both physical and emotional, Chuculate shares his positive experiences – feeling the love of family members despite many moves, playing sports, exploring nature, having friendships with children from other ethnic groups, receiving a good education, being given a second chance when he got in trouble with the law and having the help of mentors and teachers who saw his gift for writing and set him on a course of becoming a sports journalist and author.
Chuculate insightfully explores themes that will resonate with teens – the value of second chances, the importance of avoiding blindly following peers and making harmful, hurtful decisions and the undisputable power of love between children and parents, between friends, and between sisters and brothers.
In an author interview, Chuculate shares what he wants his readers to understand: “Any particular book by a Native American shouldn’t be viewed as representative of the entire race.…The life experience is greatly varied, as are the authors and their genres.”
Chuculate’s observation that holding to stereotypical views of Indigenous people does not tell the truth about reality is especially imperative for Christians to take note of. As Jesus-followers, our interactions with our Indigenous neighbors, friends, and strangers needs to reflect the love, mercy, truth and justice of God through our speech, thoughts and behavior. (Scholastic Focus)