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This Tender Land

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Reviewed by L. Bennett


In the summer of 1932 Odie is 12 years old and the younger brother of Albert. They are orphans and residents of a trade school for Indians. Although there are good teachers at the school, the staff includes people who are willing to do whatever they want to the students. Together with friends Mose and Emmy the boys take a canoe and begin a journey downriver in hope of finding Aunt Julia, a mysterious person they met years ago and know nothing about. The river is their means of escape from the school and its atrocities, the vehicle of their Huckleberry Finn adventures, and a metaphor for life.


It is quite a journey and a well-written tale of youthful enthusiasm, misanthropes, and warm-hearted havens. The author, William Kent Krueger, writes with a gentle toughness, weaving an entertaining and engaging story. It was an excellent read.


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