PURITAN GIRL, MOHAWK GIRL by John Demos

PURITAN GIRL, MOHAWK GIRL

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

From Puritan to Mohawk.

Eunice Williams, a young white Puritan girl, lives with her family in Deerfield, Massachusetts. During the winter of 1704, the town is attacked in the middle of the night by French soldiers and Mohawk warriors who kill the Williams’ black servant (this atypical act is unexplained) and Eunice’s newborn baby sister. The rest of the family is captured and taken from Deerfield. As they travel, Eunice is separated from them, eventually to be taken to live in the Mohawk village of Kahnawàke in Canada. There, Eunice learns the language and lives among them as one of their own. Though her father makes many requests for her return, Eunice refuses and lives the rest of her life with the Mohawks. The author notes that this is his fictionalized account of Eunice’s story and her time with the Mohawks, so the Mohawk way of life is seen through the eyes of an outsider, apparent in such details as when the author refers to Mohawk traditional clothing as “costumes.” In this light, Demos’ statement that “All history is, in one way or another, the product of our imagination,” comes across as justification to support a narrative of Mohawk culture sourced primarily from white records and histories, despite the participation of a Mohawk educator in the preparation of the book, as noted in the acknowledgements. Indeed, Demos' practice of sourcing his own book for adults in his notes adds another filter between readers and the Mohawks.

A one-sided account. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2604-0
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2017




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