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Review: The Round House

August 4, 2016

The Round House


Joe’s mother, Geraldine, is brutally raped near the tribal round house and sinks into a depression.  She stays in her room no matter what Joe and his father, Bazil, a judge on their reservation, do.  Since there’s no one to stop him, Joe decides to look into the case himself and, with the help of his friends, learns some shocking things.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich is told from the point of view of thirteen year old Joe.  Since adults don’t share everything with a child that age, he had to learn some things on his own, adding an element of mystery to the story.  I enjoyed the story and appreciated all that I learned from it, but I can’t say that I loved it.  I thought the story itself was terrific but it was told in a sort of round about way so the book dragged in parts for me.  I’m very glad I read the book, though, and think it has a lot of merit.  It’s possible that it’s just a little too smart for me.

Since The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012, my book club decided to read it this month.  I missed the meeting but spoke to several members and most of them felt the way I did.  A few said they couldn’t finish the book and one person loved it.  I heard that it generated a great discussion and I’m sorry I had to miss the meeting.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    August 4, 2016 7:05 am

    I liked this one Kathy(audio) and actually liked most everything she’s written.

  2. bookingmama permalink
    August 4, 2016 7:38 am

    I really liked this one but I don’t think it’s that you didn’t “get it.” It just wasn’t story that resonated with you.

  3. Sarah's Book Shelves permalink
    August 4, 2016 8:09 am

    I really did not like this book either and never understood all the awards. It’s been years since I read it, but I remember not being able to get a feel for the young boy characters b/c none of the friends had distinct personalities – they all blended together.

    I agree with Booking Mama that I don’t think you “didn’t get it” or it was “too smart for you”.

  4. August 4, 2016 8:15 am

    I like Erdrich, but haven’t read this one yet. Seems like book club discussions are better when everyone does not love a book… I can see why you were sorry to miss the meeting.

  5. August 4, 2016 9:12 am

    I didn’t like this one either. Love your comment that it’s told in a “round about” way!

  6. August 4, 2016 9:47 am

    I felt the way you did. I got it as an ARC a few years ago. I liked it but definitely did not love it. In fact, I didn’t like it well enough to read her other books.

  7. August 4, 2016 10:20 am

    Sounds like it would make for a great discussion.

  8. August 4, 2016 11:38 am

    I’m glad you didn’t like it that much because I wouldn’t want to read (yet another) book about rape.

  9. August 4, 2016 12:42 pm

    I’ve only read one book by Edrich and didn’t care for it, so I’m not tempted by this one.

  10. August 4, 2016 1:46 pm

    This sounds like an interesting read, worthy of your book club. I’m sorry you missed the meeting honey!

  11. August 4, 2016 2:33 pm

    I read this awhile ago and felt lukewarm about it.

  12. August 4, 2016 2:58 pm

    I’ve been on the fence about reading this one. I’m sorry you had to miss the group discussion – sounds like it was a good one!

  13. August 4, 2016 4:14 pm

    I know the library has one of her older ones but….

  14. August 4, 2016 5:17 pm

    Thanks for your honest review.

    I have had this book on my shelves for a long time. I may keep it there. 🙂

    Sorry about your missing the discussion.

  15. August 5, 2016 12:15 pm

    I heard good things about this one, but sounds like it dragged in places. I want fast-paced engaging books in summer. Maybe I’ll read this in the fall.

  16. August 5, 2016 8:58 pm

    I keep meaning to read Louise Erdrich but hasn’t happened yet. One day!

  17. August 5, 2016 9:13 pm

    Sorry you missed book club. This book sounds intense and I’ve had it on my shelf since it came out, but have put off reading it. I might try it in the winter.

  18. Literary Feline permalink
    August 6, 2016 6:25 pm

    I’ve felt that way about Edrich’s writing and it’s probably one reason why I haven’t yet read anything by her. I’m a little afraid it’s too smart for me. I have another of her books to read though and I hope to give it a try soon.

  19. August 6, 2016 10:43 pm

    no way a book is too smart for you Kathy!

  20. August 26, 2016 8:37 am

    I didn’t like this book either. It strayed from the storyline too much and induced boredom. 😦

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