My knowledge of native American history is dismal. It did not improve much after reading “There There” (Vintage Books, 2019) by Tommy Orange.

What it did do is it got me to realize I need to find some books to enlighten me beyond the limited education I received in school decades ago and what I have gathered since then. (Any suggestions?)

I chose the book because it is this year’s Book in Common at California State University, Chico.

According to Chico State, “The Book in Common is a shared, community read, designed to promote discussion and understanding of important issues facing the broader community. The Book in Common is chosen each year by a group of university faculty, staff, students and community members.”

The author spoke at the college on March 1. It was free to Chico State and Butte College students. I had a ticket, but something else came up. I’m guessing if I had been more impressed with the book, I would have attended.

One big issue I had with the book is that it is fiction. Of course I knew this going in, but I was still disappointed.

Another issue was Orange had 12 main characters. That was way too many. I had a hard time keeping them straight. This is never good.

I’m sure I expected too much considering the college picked it as the Book in Common.

While I can’t recommend this book, I write about it because the topic is of importance. And perhaps that will send you on your own quest to learn more about Native Americans, their history, and their stories.

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