Bowman's Store: A Journey to Myself

by Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac was raised by his maternal grandparents in a small New York town located... read more

Joseph Bruchac was raised by his maternal grandparents in a small New York town located in a region where both sides of his family had roots that were deep and strong. But Bruchac was almost an adult before he found out that his was not only an immigrant heritage and that the gentle man who had raised him to love and appreciate nature and to respect himself and those around him was an Abenaki Indian. In a compelling memoir that is beautifully written and brilliantly constructed, Bruchac weaves his narrative from the present and the past, viewing his childhood through a lens of adult understanding that allows him to see how, despite the family silence about his heritage, his grandfather was living a life that was true to who he was, at the same time denying his family background in a way that was surely painful. An Abenaki storyteller and writer who is both educator and student of American Indian cultures, Bruchac frames his memories with his adult insights into Abenaki beliefs that, as he sees now, informed his grandfather's actions and behavior. Bruchac's childhood memories are also fueled by moments of heartbreaking sadness and sheer joy and delight, as well as secrets and mysteries that were far more compelling to him as a child than the question of his grandfather's dark skin. His parents lived less than a mile down the road with his younger sisters, yet he was living with his grandfather and his strong, loving, protective grandmother. He was a bright child who was often targeted by other children as the object of teasing and bullying when he was young. Bruchac looks at his own childhood behavior with wry, sometimes painful honesty without diluting the impact of powerful incidents that will stand out in every young reader's mind as emotionally familiar. As a story about family, about childhood, about learning to be true to oneself, this is a book that will take its readers on a transformational journey of discovery. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

show less