Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blood Red Ochre by Kevin Major

This is a guest post
by Carol Tulpar
Blood Red Ochre is a gripping story that moves forward with a sense of urgency and mystery. When Nancy appears in David’s small town high school class, he feels attracted to her. They have been asked to write an essay about the vanished Beothuk, a group of aboriginal people who once occupied the island of Newfoundland, including the fictitious town of Marten, near St. John’s, where their school is located.
Sometimes Nancy appears friendly; at other times, her behaviour seems odd, and even cold. However, David pursues his interest in Nancy as they both research the Beothuks. Meanwhile, he is forced to question his own identity when he finds out that the man he has been calling Dad all his life is not his real father.

Parallel stories move forward alternately from the points of view of David, and Dauoodaset, a young Beothuk man from the past.

At Nancy’s insistence, the two secretly make a canoe trip to nearby Red Ochre island, once used as a burial place by Beothuk. There, the two threads of the story come together in a moment of crisis that changes young David’s life forever. At this moment, too, a third point of view enters the story: that of Shanawdithit. Author Kevin Major imagines the adventures, thoughts and feelings of this last woman of the Beothuk tribe, a real historical character, and uses them to bring the two threads of his story together in a dramatic closing.

The story is well-written, easy to read, and educational, and it casts light on some of the lesser-known aspects of Canadian history. It’s a good read for a student in middle school or junior high.

Copy source: library
Genre: young adult
Format: hardcopy

During a life-long love affair with words, Carol Tulpar has written essays, poetry, and short stories. She is currently working on a novel about family secrets, and has a memoir on the back burner. Carol posts on various topics on her blog, Essay-eh. A recent series of posts on Canadian authors ran from October to December 2011.

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