Monday, November 30, 2009

Blessing's Bead

Blessing's Bead
Debby Dahl Edwardson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

This is a family generational story that ends in 1989 and begins in 1917. Book I is Nutaaq's story. Her family are Inupiaq Eskimos. At Sheshlalik, the annual trade fair Nutaaq's older sister Aaluk marries a young man from Siberia. Before Aaluk sails off with her new family she gives Nutaag two Blue Beads which are believed to calm the spirits. That is the last gift that will ever past between the sisters.

Thanks to Ice Curtain,the borders between Alaska and Russia are closed. Families are now seperated by an ocean. Nutaaq's story is just under 60 pages, but the author manages to paint a clear picture of the Inupiaq people. From the first page I was quickly taken by the authors writing.

Book II is Blessing's story. Her Eskimo name is Nutaaq, named after her great-grandmother. Blessing and her younger brother, Isaac are sent to live with Aaka, their grandmother when its discovered their mother is drinking too much. Aaka's Eskimo name is Aaluk, named after the aunt she never meant. Nutaaq and her grandmother are connected by to their Eskimo names.

Blessing and Isaac are now surrounded by family they hardly known. Blessing's story is as captivating as her great- grandmother's. She slowly begins to understand the strength of her name and find the rhythm to an Inupiaq dance buried deep inside her consciousness. Blessing's Bead was a real joy to read. Edwardson's writing is straight forward kind of beauty. I loved it.

The author's interviewed @ Jacket Knack
The author @ Cynsations


Lyn Miller-Lachmann said...

I loved this book too, and reviewed it for Readergirlz Salon. I'm interested in stories about young people caught up in events bigger than themselves, so the fact that the Russian Revolution split up Nutaaq's family (followed by the deadly influenza epidemic) drew me in. But the exquisite writing kept me entranced. A month after reading Blessing's Bead, I still have the image in my mind of the slushy ocean in October, just before it turns to ice and months of near-total darkness descend on the village.

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Charlotte said...

This is already on my tbr list--I'm looking forward to it more now!

MissAttitude said...

I got the book and I'm so excited to read it. I'm going to try and finish it during my read-a-thon today! Nice review, Doret :)

hmsgofita said...

This really does look interesting. I've never heard of it and will now be adding it to my TBR list! Thanks for the great review.

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