Faces in the Moon

Overview

Faces in the Moon is the story of three generations of Cherokee women, as viewed by the youngest, Lucie, a woman who has been able to use education and her imagination to escape the confines of her rootless, impoverished upbringing. When her mother’s illness summons her back to Oklahoma, Lucie finds herself confronted with the legacy of a childhood she has worked hard to separate from her adult self.

Her mother, Gracie, and her maternal aunt, Auney, are members of the Cherokees’...

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Overview

Faces in the Moon is the story of three generations of Cherokee women, as viewed by the youngest, Lucie, a woman who has been able to use education and her imagination to escape the confines of her rootless, impoverished upbringing. When her mother’s illness summons her back to Oklahoma, Lucie finds herself confronted with the legacy of a childhood she has worked hard to separate from her adult self.

Her mother, Gracie, and her maternal aunt, Auney, are members of the Cherokees’ "lost generation," women who rejected the traditional rural ways in search of a more glamorous life as autonomous working women.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Female relationships, kinship and the diverse meanings of ``Indian'' in modern, white-dominated society are the themes at the heart of this generous first novel. The plot centers on three generations of Cherokee women. Gracie Evers is overweight, has peroxided hair and longs for nothing more than assimilation into the Caucasian culture of rural Oklahoma; the same is true of her sister and sometime boarder Rozellen. Gracie has trouble handling her daughter Lucie, a throwback to the fiery personality of her mother Hellen, and often abuses the girl for having an ``Indian'' nature. When Gracie marries an alcoholic and violent white man, Lucie is sent to live with her great-aunt Lizzie, a taciturn Indian who helps the child gain the freedom to be who she truly is. Told largely in flashbacks by Lucie, who has returned home following her hated mother's stroke, the novel is elegantly written in spare prose replete with meaningful details and realistic dialogue. Bell, herself a Cherokee, deeply understands the culture she writes about and conveys that understanding unobtrusively, yet with great emotional power. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In this moving first novel, Bell (a mixed-blood Cherokee) confronts the ``lost generation'' of Indian women, personified by Grace, who tries unsuccessfully to enter the mainstream of the white world. Her daughter Lucie's horrendous childhood of struggle and abuse is relieved only by a two-year stay with a great-aunt, who instills in her a sense of pride. Despite the odds, she is now a successful college professor. Returning to Oklahoma for Grace's final illness, Lucie spends some painful solitary hours examining the shame she has felt for her mother, who lacked both the skills needed to thrive in the white world and pride in her Cherokee heritage. She finds a link to Grace as she rummages through her things is able to engage in the generations-old tradition of proudly seeking the face of her mother when she sees the moon. For larger Native American and women's studies collections.-- Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806127743
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Series: American Indian Literature Series , #9
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 4.75 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty Louise Bell, a Cherokee mixed-blood born in Oklahoma, received her Ph.D. from Ohio State University and now teaches courses in English, American studies, and women's studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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