“I've read a couple of Erdrich's books in the past and I was curious about this one after it won the National Book award. I think I avoided it at first because I knew there was a rape, but I should have known better. Erdrich's handling of Geraldine's ordeal and her son, Joe's, reaction to it was perfect. It's not much of a mystery, you know fairly early on who the culprit is, it's more about piecing the story together. She managed to contrast the harrowing parts of the rape and it's aftermath with the ordinary, sometimes comic aspects of Joe's coming-of-age. Erdrich's strength is her story-telling ability and she interweaves the details of Chippewa life both past and present in a way that makes the story unique and interesting. I'd also reccomend Sherman Alexie's "Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." It's a YA book, part story, part graphic novel, but also has a native american coming-of-age story.