Review of Tears in the Grass by Lynda A. Archer

Posted by in netgalley copy

In one of my many cookbooks, I have a recipe for freezer-cookies. Basically, the recipe is this: find a bunch of sweet things you like to eat, mix them into little balls stuck together with peanut butter, put balls in freezer. Done. I make them sometimes when I have a variety of baking supplies (chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.) and just want something quick. Do they do the trick? Yes. Are they really that satisfying? Well ...

And therein is my issue with Tears in the Grass by Lynda A. Archer. It does the trick of being a quick-to-make-out story; it has everything in it, and I do mean everything (residential schools, rape, forced adoptions, sexism, racism, discrimination, the thoughts of a taxidermied bison, First Nations rights, LGBTQ issues, murder); but, ultimately the peanut butter to stick the balls together (to return to my already weak metaphor) just isn't there. In three hundred pages, so much is thrown at us, one thing after another, that by the final page, it's a bit like getting to the end of a marathon. The book wears me out. Plus, much like my last review, there's a bit of wish fulfillment it seems going on here. Everything ties up in a nice tidy bow. Uplifting sure. Realistic, well ... (a missing Cree senior in Saskatchewan is on the news in Ontario? I don't buy it.)

Plus I'm more interested in the side stories: What was it like for Louise to go to law school in the 1930s as a Cree woman? Are Alice and Wanda going to continue seeing each other? Why didn't Elinor search for her baby earlier? Does John have any personality at all? Why is the whole novel set in the sixties when it could just as easily be set now?

Overall, an okay book. Would likely be improved with less internal thoughts of a stuffed bison and more plot and character development.

Tears in the Grass by Lynda A. Archer went on sale March 19, 2016.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.