Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter
Author: Angeline Boulley
Publication Date: 2021
Publishing House: Henry, Holt and Co.
Firekeeper’s Daughter is another book in my journey of doing my best to learn about other cultures by diving into texts written by people that are part of those cultures. I found this book through Book of the Month. This book is actually a bit closer to home than some of the other books I’ve read. This story is about a native tribe near the U.S. – Canada border. The author is a member of a native tribe.
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.
The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.
Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.
There is a point in any good book when you cannot bring yourself to stop reading until you know the conclusion. For this story that point is just past the halfway mark. This book explores the reality of drugs, of racism, scandal, and the issues that come along with trying to fit into two juxtaposed worlds.
Daunis is a strong character, she deals with so much heartache before the story even begins. However, she does not allow misfortune to break her. That is not to say that she is not unaffected by these things. Daunis loves her community and the people on both side of her heritage. At its heart this book is about community and preserving traditions that have been stolen, lost to time by invaders.
The settlers from Europe to what is now America, have rarely been kind to the original people of this land. Not all of those atrocities are mentioned in this book but stolen children are mentioned and remembered. Children taken from their families and culture, forced to dress in a “civilized” manner and to forget their language and traditions. Without its language a culture dies. That sad truth of history along with others, both sad and happy, lend life to this fiction that has been distilled from truth.
This is a very well done book and story. I love a good, happy ending in a tale but this text reflects a reality for a lot of people and thus the final pages are set in reality. I highly suggest this book to those that want to learn and to understand a bit more without having to dive into the white-washed pages of a text book. This is a work of fiction but the author is a woman from the culture that she writes about. May your reading be informative.