Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Dyan Sheldon's MY WORST BEST FRIEND

Rebecca R. wrote to me this morning about Dyan Sheldon's new book, My Worst Best Friend. Specifically, Rebecca pointed me to the last line in the Kirkus review of the book, where the reviewer writes that:
somebody should tell Gracie that despite her family’s annual “Remember the Wampanoag Day” celebration, feeling like “the last Wampanoag” is dismissive of the 2,000 living members of the Wampanoag nation.
I'll look for the book at the library. In the meantime, I looked online and so far, I've not found any references to Gracie's Wampanoag identity. I wonder about that not-noticing or not-commenting about her identity. 

Obviously, Sheldon chose to make Gracie Wampanoag for a reason. Reviews say Gracie cares about the environment. Is that it? Is Gracie a modern-day Chief Seattle ala Jeffer's deeply problematic Brother Eagle Sister Sky

There's an interview of Sheldon at Teens Read Too. One of the questions is about a book she wishes she'd written. Her answer is:
This may seem like a stretch, since I’m not Colombian and have a very limited imagination, but I wouldn’t mind having authored ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE.
Posted on February 23rd, 2010, the interview begins with a brief discussion of My Worst Best Friend. She, like the reviewers, doesn't mention that Gracie is Wampanoag. Another question is about a historical event. What, if she could, would she change? Her answer:
Columbus never discovers “America”. Nor does anyone else. In fact, the Great Nations of Europe never get off land. Every time they make a boat it sinks, so they are never able to colonize the world and destroy other people’s lives and cultures on a grand scale. They have to stay where they are and settle for making each other miserable.
Interesting answer! I've never read Sheldon's novels but look forward to reading this one, to studying how she develops Gracie. 

 

2 comments:

deborah said...

Gracie's not Wampanoag in the book. Instead, her father is a well-meaning Causes person who decides to throw a "Remember the Wampanoag" day every year instead of Thanksgiving as his big cause.

As I recall from reading the book, his friends come over and they play music and throw a big fun party. Gracie later uses that as the jumping off point for explaining her own loneliness when she loses her best friend, because she feels like "the last Wampanoag".

Debbie Reese said...

Thanks, Deborah, for your comment! I'm even more interested now. If you come back, I'd like to know more about the book.

I'm guessing the story is set on the East Cost?

Are the Wampanoag's there (in the book) only in memory?