Where I Belong
by Tara White
This moving novel of self-discovery and redemption takes place during the Oka Crisis of the summer of 1990. Having been adopted as an infant, Carrie has always felt out of place—and recurring dreams keep warning that someone close to her will be badly hurt. When she finds out that her birth father is living in Kahnawake, Quebec, she goes there and finally finds a place she truly belongs.
I was in grade 9 or 10 when the Oka Crisis happened. I remember watching protesters being arrested on “breaking news” on TV near the end of the standoff, but not understanding what the situation was really about.
Here’s a bit of background from Wikipedia:
“The Oka Crisis…was a land dispute between a group of Mohawk people and the town of Oka, Quebec, Canada, which began on July 11, 1990, and lasted 78 days until September 26, 1990 with two fatalities. The dispute was the first well-publicized violent conflict between First Nations and the Canadian government in the late 20th century.
“… As a protest against the court decision to allow the golf course construction to proceed [over sacred burial grounds], some members of the Mohawk community erected a barricade blocking access to the area. Mayor Ouellette demanded compliance with the court order, but the protesters refused. Quebec’s Minister of Native Affairs John Ciaccia wrote a letter of support for the natives, stating that ‘these people have seen their lands disappear without having been consulted or compensated, and that, in my opinion, is unfair and unjust, especially over a golf course.’ ”
I picked up Where I Belong because the story took place during and at the stand off, having remembered the incident happening, I want to have a better understanding of the situation.
I learned about the situation through the novel, giving me what I hoped to get from it. The story of the crisis was well woven through the story without being a textbook or Wikipedia entry. That I liked.
However, I found the story of the main character, Carrie, to be forced. The dialogue was forced, the characterization was forced, the relationships were forced. The story didn’t flow naturally and I found it a bit jarring to read. It moved very fast through 110 pages. I think it could have been 150 pages, with slowing down a bit to work in more characterization and making sure conversations flowed in a natural way. However, I did find the ending satisfying.
I would recommend this book as the story is relevant today and it’s an excellent story for discussing what happened during the Oka Crisis. Perhaps a good read for grade nine or ten students.
This is an unsolicited review, I purchased this book from a local bookstore.
- Paperback: 110 pages
- Publisher: Tradewind Books (Nov. 21 2014)
- ISBN-13: 978-1896580777