1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.
Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an enthralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.
Tender land was such a beautiful ride. I was hesitant to start because I had such high expectations and it delivered. I loved getting to know “buck”/Odie along with Albert, Mose, and Emmy. Seeing them at such a young age going through all of this by themselves was heartbreaking, but they had each other and wanted their freedom.
Odie and the others are at the Lincoln school which forcibly separates native children from their families. They are forced to work in the fields and abused. They school would also take the “Native” out of them. They were not allowed to practice or speaking their culture. Also to note, Mose is the only Native of the children.
When one night makes the opportunity to escape they take it and use the river to escape. They work together to escape the black witch and her wrath and find somewhere they can call home. While on their journey from the school in Minnesota to St.Louis will have you loose your faith in humanity with the evil spirited people they encounter and it will also restore your faith with all the generous and kind hearted people were to help the kids, even when they were down on there luck
Tender land also gave insight to the depression and just how many people were out of work and suffering. How far they would travel just to find work. The book mentioned the dust bowl in Oklahoma and how it effected people.
Seeing these children being broken by the system and left all alone was heartbreaking and really shows how badly the Natives were treated. There are also triggers pictured for those that need them.
Overall I absolutely adored this book and it was so much more than I ever could have predicted. William Kent Krueger is an amazing writer and Tender Land is a masterpiece. I can not wait to see what he writes next.