There There – Tommy Orange

5/5 Stars
Reviewed by: Annie
Genre: Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Fiction Literature
Published by: Knopf, June 5th 2018
Pages: 294

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There There by Tommy Orange is an exceptional book. It’s one of those books where simply describing the plot isn’t good enough – it’s the writing style, the voice, the hooked me. A debut novel by a talented young author that left me devastated when I finished it simply by the fact that it was over.

There There casts a light on the part of America that is more often that not overlooked – the Indigenous Community. Told from the perspective of fourteen different characters, each with unique yet overwhelmingly similar stories to tell.

A multigenerational story about violence, recovery, forgiveness, heritage, and identity – things they left out of the history textbooks in school.

Growing up in Canada, I have always been aware of the injustices against the Indigenous Community in our country – it has always felt like a shameful dark stain on our countries history. Fortunately, in the last few years, I believe that steps have been made towards reconciliation. Though I do not think we can ever fully repair the damage of oppression, especially in the form of Residential Schools, I believe that reconciliation is on the horizon, and it begins with acknowledgement.

There There however, is set not set in Canada, rather in Oakland California. Before reading this book I am ashamed to say I had very little knowledge of the presence of the Indigenous Community located there. Not only is this book incredibly thought provoking and entertaining, it is extremely informative on many topics of American History, such as the Alcatraz Occupation and the Sand Creek Massacre.

Though the multiple time periods and narrators in the book are slightly difficult to follow, I recommend this book with my whole heart.

Another radiant example of how much fiction can teach us.

Reviewed by: Annie

“These are songs I either listened to while writing, or that appear in the novel There There, which I wrote between 2012 and 2017” – Tommy Orange