It is the summer of 1932 and Odie O’Banion, the novel’s narrator, is an orphan living at The Lincoln Indian Training School in Minnesota with his brother Albert. The institution is a horrible place ruled by Thelma Brickman, the Black Witch. When Odie commits a terrible crime, he is forced to leave the school, and for a variety of reasons, he takes with him his brother, a mute Native American named Mose, and Emmy, a precocious six year old. As the four vagabonds travel down the Gilead River in a canoe, they experience danger, adventure and a look at how many Americans lived during The Great Depression. This Tender Land is a tale about survival, freedom and what constitutes a family.
I enjoyed this novel and was eager to find out what happened to the four vagabonds. This Tender Land is a good read but in the end, there is nothing to think about or discuss.