Montana 1948: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview


“From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them… “ So begins David Hayden’s story of what happened in Montana in 1948. The events of that cataclysmic summer permanently alter twelve-year-old David’s understanding of his family: his father, a small-town sheriff; his remarkably strong mother; David’s uncle Frank, a war hero and respected doctor; and the Haydens’ Sioux ...
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Montana 1948: A Novel

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Overview


“From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them… “ So begins David Hayden’s story of what happened in Montana in 1948. The events of that cataclysmic summer permanently alter twelve-year-old David’s understanding of his family: his father, a small-town sheriff; his remarkably strong mother; David’s uncle Frank, a war hero and respected doctor; and the Haydens’ Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier, whose revelations turn the family’s life upside down as she relates how Frank has been molesting his female Indian patients. As their story unravels around David, he learns that truth is not what one believes it to be, that power is abused, and that sometimes one has to choose between family loyalty and justice.
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Editorial Reviews

Nation
My favorite novel of 1993.... Utterly mesmerizing.... There's something eminently universal in Watson's ponderings on the human condition, and it's refracted through a nearly perfect eye for character, place and the rhythms of language. Fiction at its finest is sometimes hard to find; Montana 1948 amply fits the bill.
—Chris Faatz
San Francisco Chronicle
Montana 1948 stands out as a work of art...
—Susan Petro
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Larry Watson is one of those good writers few people know about, a writer whose work is worthy of prizes.... The style of Montana 1948 is as thin, clear and crisp as a North Dakota Wind.
—Annick Smith
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A stark tragedy unfolds in Watson's taut, memorable novel, the winner of the publisher's National Fiction Prize. During the summer of 1948, a solid, middle-class family in a small Montana town is wrenched apart by scandal, murder and suicide. Narrator David Hayden tells the story as an adult looking back at the traumatic events that scarred yet matured him when he was 12. His pious Lutheran mother informs his father, Wesley, the county sheriff, that David's uncle Frank, a doctor, has been molesting and raping Native American girls during routine medical exams. Uncle Frank's latest victim is Marie Little Soldier, the Haydens' Sioux housekeeper. When Marie dies, presumably of pneumonia, David provides key evidence that implicates his uncle in her murder. Frank is arrested by his brother, who locks the confessed sexual abuser in the basement to save him from the embarrassment of jail. David confronts his uncle's racism and the evasions and denials his family has constructed to cover up the affair. In crisp, restrained prose, Watson ( In a Dark Time ) indelibly portrays the moral dilemma of a family torn between justice and loyalty; by implication, he also illuminates some dark corners of our national history. (Sept.)
Library Journal
A young Sioux woman tossing with fever on a cot; a father begging his wife for help; a mother standing uncertainly in her kitchen with a 12-gauge shotgun: from these fragments of memory, evoked by the narrator as the novel opens, Watson builds a simple but powerful tale. It is Montana in 1948, and young David Hayden's father, Wesley, is sheriff of their small town--a position he inherited from his domineering father. Wesley is overshadowed by his older brother, Frank, a war hero who is now the town doctor. When Marie, the Sioux woman who works for the Haydens, fall ill, she adamantly resists being examined by Frank. Some probing reveals that Frank has been molesting the Indian women in his care. Wesley's dilemma--should he turn in his own brother?--is intensified when Marie is found dead and David confesses that he saw his uncle near the house before she died. The moral issues, and the consequences of following one's conscience, are made painfully evident here. Watson is to be congratulated for the honesty of his writing and the purity of his prose. Highly recommended.-- Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal''
Bill Ott
The relationship of landscape to personality is a familiar theme, especially in western literature, but it may never have been explored with as much sensitivity and as fine an eye for detail as Watson manages in this stunning coming-of-age novel, the winner of the 1993 Milkweed National Fiction Prize The "harshness of the land and the flattening effect of the wind" made life hard in Mercer County, Montana, in 1948, "so much so that nothing was left over for raising hell or making trouble." Well, maybe a little something, as the shocking events of David Watson's twelfth summer reveal: his father, the sheriff of Bentrock, Montana, forced to accuse David's Uncle Frank, a war hero and physician, of molesting numerous Indian women and murdering one of them, David's family's housekeeper; Frank's subsequent jailing, not in the city jail but in David's basement; and, finally, Frank's suicide, his body found by David's father: "Then my father's tears broke loose, one more briny fluid to mingle on the basement floor. The action unfolds circuitously, as David remembers how he pieced together what was happening, mostly through eavesdropping (an activity at which every only child excels). Yes, the novel is a kind of thriller and certainly a page turner, but, moreover, it is a quiet, almost meditative reflection on the hopelessly complex issue of doing the right thing--and on the courage it takes to face one's demons: "The shock of hearing this about Uncle Frank was doubled because my mother was saying these words. "Rape. Breasts. Penis." These were words I never heard my mother use--never . . ." The unspoken life of any small town, especially a small, hardscrabble western town, contains a motherlode of raw emotion, morally ambiguous and potentially devastating. Watson mines that vein with both unflinching honesty and complete respect, both for the dignity of the people and the implacability of the landscape. Inevitably, this spare, poetic novel will be compared with Norman Maclean's "A River Runs through It"; the comparison is apt on some levels--both explore the effect of cataclysmic events on naturally reticent people--but Watson deserves his own space under Montana's Big Sky.
Howard Frank Mosher
This story is as fresh and clear as the trout streams fished by its narrator....As universal in its themes as it is original in its peculiarity, Montana 1948 is a significant and eloquent addition to the fiction of the American West and to contemporary American fiction in general. -- Washington Post Book World
Chris Faatz
My favorite novel of 1993....utterly mesmerizing...there's something eminently universal in Watson's ponderings on the human condition, and its a fact that there's a nearly perfect eye for character, place, and the ribbons of language. Fiction at its finest is sometimes hard to find: Montana 1948 amply fits the bill. -- The Nation
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571318039
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 186
  • Sales rank: 54,930
  • File size: 542 KB

Meet the Author


Larry Watson was born in 1947 in Rugby, North Dakota. He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, and married his high school sweetheart. He received his BA and MA from the University of North Dakota, his Ph.D. from the creative writing program at the University of Utah, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Ripon College. Watson has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1987, 2004) and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Larry Watson is the author of five novels and a chapbook of poetry. Watson’s fiction has been published in more than ten foreign editions, and has received prizes and awards from Milkweed Press, Friends of American Writers, Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association, New York Public Library, Wisconsin Library Association, and Critics’ Choice. Montana 1948 was nominated for the first IMPAC Dublin International Literary Prize. The movie rights to Montana 1948 and Justice have been sold to Echo Lake Productions and White Crosses has been optioned for film.

He has published short stories and poems in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, North American Review, Mississippi Review, and other journals and quarterlies. His essays and book reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and other periodicals. His work has also been anthologized in Essays for Contemporary Culture, Imagining Home, Off the Beaten Path, Baseball and the Game of Life, The Most Wonderful Books, These United States, and Writing America.

Watson taught writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for 25 years before joining the faculty at Marquette University in 2003.
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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

1. What motivates Frank Hayden's final act? (The author has characterized it as both a selfish and a selfless act.)

2. Late in the novel, Gail Hayden changes her attitude. She no longer wants her husband to continue the course of action that earlier she encouraged him to follow. What causes her to change?

3. What does Wesley Hayden mean by his admonishment not to "blame Montana"?

4. A great deal of attention is paid to locating Bentrock (a fictional community) on the map. Why? What role does the setting play in the novel?

5. Whose story is this? Wesley's? David's? Why?

6. Who is the moral center of the story? Why?

7. How does prejudice play into the story?

8. Why is Wesley Hayden especially concerned when his son David tells him that Len McAuley might "know something"?

9. What would the outcome of the story have been had David's father publicly arrested his uncle? Would things have turned out better? Worse? Would you have done the same thing as Wesley had it been your family?

10. Was there any justice for the crimes committed by Uncle Frank?

11. Most of the novel's action takes place in 1948. Why did the author choose that year? Could the events occur today?

12. In what ways is the novel about privilege and the abuse of power?

13. What is the effect of David Hayden telling this story so many years after the fact?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 130 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(58)

4 Star

(58)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 130 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Great, but short.

    This novel is fast paced, brilliantly populated, and beautifully set. The author does a great job of articulating his alienated characters over the unforgiving landscape he has created. I recommend it, but with one reservation... it's too short.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    High school review

    Montana1948, a novel by Larry Watson, deserves a 4 star rating because of its meaningful, relevant content and well-written exploration of the depth and changes of character of the main personas as a result of making difficult choices under immense pressure. Montana 1948 lays out the experiences of David Hayden, a 12 year old boy, during one summer in the small town of Bentrock. From the very first page, the author indicates the significance of the events that are to follow and provides snapshots of a few particularly vivid moments. Soon after the characters have been described the action proceeds and tension begins to build between the characters. By the time the final chapter is reached David had left behind his childhood and been forced to drastically change his perspective on both his family and the world they live in. As stated in the 1993 book review by Booklist, Montana 1948 is a ¿reflection on the hopelessly complex issue of doing the right thing ¿ and on the courage it takes to face one¿s demons.¿ Many times throughout the narrative characters have questioned the `right choice¿, as when Len, the deputy, spoke of learning when to look away, as when David¿s father decided to lock his brother in the basement, and as when, at the conclusion, David felt that he had lost all belief in the rule of law. David¿s father faced the knowledge of his brother¿s crimes and stood up against his father to bring Frank to justice. Secondly, as stated in the above mentioned book review, Montana 1948 also explores the ¿cataclysmic events on naturally reticent people.¿ David¿s perspective of nearly all the people in his family life is forever altered by his exposure to other, hidden sides of them. Because armed men came into their yard, David saw his mother use a shotgun. Because Marie spoke out, David realized that his uncle was not as wonderful as he seemed. Because of the combination of nearly unbearable living conditions and the admitted guilt of Frank, David¿s mother and father completely switched sides his mother now asked that Frank be released and his father could not do so. When faced with such a stark admission, he could no longer pretend nothing was happening.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Where Your Loyalty Lies.

    This short book is one that expresses the importance of justice, family, and loyalty, as well as decision making and power. Decision making and loyalty are closely tied in this book. You also begin to question yourself as you read. Would you stay loyal to justice and the good of the whole, or abuse your power to stay loyal to your family? These intriguing questions will keep you interested and wanting to read on. This quick read is one that is sure to keep your attention and keep you thinking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 1999

    Montana: 1948

    Montana: 1948, written by Larry Watson, is an example of a four star novel. It is clear and interesting. He introduces to the reader a story of a family torn by a scandal. The Hayden family lives in a small rural town of Montana. The silent scandal is revealed to the reader through the eyes of a twelve year old boy whose innocence and truth allows justice to prevail against the immoral acts committed by his uncle Frank. A review that appeared in Publishers Weekly said, 'David confronts his uncle's racism and the evasions and denials his family has constructed to cover up the affair. In crisp, restrained prose, Watson indelibly portrays the moral dilemma of a family torn between justice and loyalty.' I agree with this statement because the family of this man (Uncle Frank) hides the fact that he had been taking advantage of young Indian girls in his past. When he is confronted by his brother the town sheriff, Frank's father backs him up and accuses Wesley of jealousy and that Wes is only confronting Frank in revenge. The father believes that one should know when to look and when to look away. The cover for this crime is hidden through the prejudice that swarmed so many cities alike in that time. Wesley, his son, and his wife stand up for what is right, and choose justice over loyalty to the family by deciding to go through with the arrest of Uncle Frank. Barbara Hoffert from the Library Journal said, 'The moral issues, and the consequences of following one's conscience, are made painfully evident here. Watson is to be congratulated for the honesty of his writing and the purity of his prose.' I agree with this statement made by Ms. Hoffert because when the Haydens face the issues involved with the scandal, many moral issues arise. One's conscience is challenged here. Should the man of the law stay true to the law, or should there be special conditions when a family member is involved? The answer is painful in itself because in order to fulfill justice, Uncle Frank takes the blow. The story exposes the cruelty of human nature through the crimes committed by Uncle Frank and also the crime of his father who didn't hold Frank accountable for his actions. The honesty of Watson's writing tends to draw the reader in, wanting to help the author in his painful dilemma. I don't agree with Barbara Finkelstein from The New York Times Book Review, who said, 'Purple prose is the real culprit in this shallow overwrought tale.' I believe that the intense language developed the characters of the story and fit the times that the book was based on. David's detailed descriptions in his imaginations of woman weren't inappropriate. I believe that it showed the true thoughts of all boys at his age. Watson didn't deny the reader of any truths of sexual impurities that the characters had; thus, revealing all honesty and truth of the whole story. I gave the book four stars instead of five because although I thought the story was clear and had a strong plot, character development wasn't high on Watson's list. His story revealed many areas of the human condition and displayed the pain and suffering of each of the characters well. I was left wondering about the characters on a more personal level.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 1999

    The 'Good Guys' Don't Always Win

    The ideas Larry Watson brings to light about human behavior transcend time and cultural barriers. However, Mr. Watson's five star novel, Montana 1948, is more than just a story. Its pages tell the true story of life's fairness and the rewards of doing the right thing. Although Barbra Finkelstein of The New York Times Book Review says that the novel, ¿¿depends on cliched characters to lug the story to its conclusion,¿ I disagree. The ability to relate to the narrator¿s family and upbringing is one of this story¿s greatest attributes. The stereotypical the characters add a sense of familiarity for many readers, and allow them to better immerse themselves in the plot. Also, the story itself did much more than ¿lug¿. Its suggestions about how our society were thought provoking such as in the part where the narrator recounts how the people in town would often ¿look the other way¿ when faced with problems such as his uncles molestation of the Indian girls. In addition to this, its unpredictable twists leave the reader unable to turn the pages fast enough. Wesley, the narrator¿s father, is the town sheriff and is faced with a, ¿moral dilemma,¿ as Publishers Weekly puts it. His All-American brother has been molesting Indian girls and may have murdered one. It is then that Wesley must decide between treating the situation as a family member and simply letting it slide out of loyalty or as the county¿s Sheriff with the intent of prosecuting this criminal to the fullest extent. When he decides that prosecution would do nothing but embarrass the family name, he plans to let his brother off the hook. However, once his brother admits to and tells explicitly of his crimes without any show of remorse, Wesley becomes determined to bring him to justice. I agree with Barbara Hoffert of Library Journal when she says, ¿The moral issues, and the consequences of following one¿s conscience, are made painfully evident here.¿ Mr. Watson does not make life out to be a fairytale. When the narrator and his family are forced to move away from their home because of the choice they made to do what they thought was right Mr. Watson stated simply the truth that often times the ¿good guys¿ don¿t win.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    I really liked this novel, Larry did a wonderful view of capturi

    I really liked this novel, Larry did a wonderful view of capturing the words. This deserves a 5 star rating, This is a short book but it does a very great job of explaining what has happened back then in the late 40's and what the consequences were, and the fact that there wasn't much technology to prove anything. This book expresses about an importance of family, justice and how loyal others are. This novel is very clear but it is somewhat confusing. I thought this book would be boring, as a High School student, but it was quite the intensity, and  it was some things that I hadn't expected to be in this book. This can teach you about what you should/n't do, because of consequences. Great Book...Loved it. It is a very hard book to put down, the details are amazing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    The story was interesting as such but not much more and it was j

    The story was interesting as such but not much more and it was just a tad over 100 pages. I noted that it was reduced from $14.00 to the $11.48 I overpaid for it. I read in no time at all and I was furious. TOTAL rip-off!

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  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Brilliant Book That Examines Integrity Vs. Loyalty

    Montana 1948 marks the second book by Larry Watson that will make my top ten list of books for 2014. I loved the characterizations, the story, the narrator, and the writing overall.

    The story is narrated by 12 year-old David Hayden of Bentrock, Montana. He is part of THE Hayden family, his grandfather a powerful and rich rancher. His father, Wes, is a lawyer turned sheriff, and his mother, Gail, works at the courthouse. The family seems very happy and David is a precocious and inward boy, enjoying the land and his horse Nutty, that he keeps at his grandfather's ranch. Marie, a Sioux Indian, is the housekeeper and babysitter for David's family and David loves her. She is kind, powerful and efficient.

    One day, David hears Marie coughing and realizes that she is ill. She keeps saying that she doesn't want to see a doctor. What she means is that she doesn't want to see Frank, Wes's brother, who is one of the two town doctors. Of course, the Haydens always call Frank for medical reasons as he is family. However, Marie is adamant and when the Haydens call Frank Marie insists that Gail be in the room during the examination. She tells Gail later that Frank has molested several of the young women on the reservation and that it's a widely known fact.

    The story deals with issues of integrity and loyalty. Does Wes deal with these allegations against his brother or does he let them go? Frank is, after all a war hero and a respected citizen with a beautiful wife. Wes's father is very powerful and Frank is the golden son while Wes is second best. How will the town deal with this information if it is to come out? David hears all that is going on by listening to the adults and it is refreshing to hear a narrator that I believe is reliable. It is also refreshing to hear the story narrated by an adult from his twelve-year old perspective.

    The novel is short at 169 pages but it is long on emotions, psychological intrigue, and brilliance. Larry Watson is a writer that I have recently discovered but I have ordered all his books. There is a book of connected short stories about the Hayden clan that I think will be exceptionally good. I am thrilled to have discovered Larry Watson. As a lover of literary fiction, I can think of no better writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    This is the kind of story that you want to share with your best friends. The characters are well developed and the plot engaging. I finshed the book wishing there were more pages to turn.
    I've ordered several of Larry Watson's books and that's the best compliment I can think of to convey how much I liked the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    A good story

    This was one of those books that you cant put down. It makes.you wonder whats gonna happe next.and i love thie twist at the end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Good

    It was a good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    School read

    My English teacher is reading this to us and i find it very good and wish that class would not end so we could finish it and find out what happens in the end. I recomed this book to other high school students who love to read.

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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    3.75 stars.

    My first book of Larry Watson's and I would definitely read another of his again. Although the synopsis reads as if this were a mystery it is not. It's just a coming of age event in a teenager's life described in the no nonsense writing style of most Western writers. A hearty thumbs up for this one. Can't wait to read its prequel-esque partner, "Justice."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    Quick but taut read.

    This relatively short book can, and unless you start on it very late in the day, will most likely be read by you in one sitting because your mind demands to know what happens next. Completely different than what I espected, but in a good way.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    A young boy endures his parents hardships as the family deals with unexpected events that tears the family apart.

    Montana 1948 shows how a small town can be subjected to politics and justice at the same time. The father of a young boy is the law in a town that has many American Indians living in it. After the death of one of the young women from the reservation, questions begin to arise about the Sherriff's brother who by the way is the town Doctor. The father of the two men owns a lot of political capital earned while he was the Sherriff of the same town years earlier. The Story comes to a head and the conflict within the family of the young boy which includes the grand parents and his mom, who is the inlaw to everyone involved. Great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007

    ALL AROUND GOOD BOOK!

    ¿When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books¿. This is exactly the fist thing that I thought when my teacher showed us the book. I thought, ¿Oh my god. This book is so boring with all the wheat fields and the front! How could this book possibly be a good book?¿ The book started off a little slow for me, but I stuck with it hoping that is would get better. And what do you know, it did. What I loved about this book is that it wasn¿t just a story about farming and buying 25 cent candies, it was actually in depth and told an actual story. With the whole thing about Uncle Frank ¿killing¿ Marie and them trying to figure out how she got so sick, it got you into it right there. Then, when you least expect it, they think that Uncle Frank is raping these Indian girls. This took the book to a whole other level! You don¿t expect something like this because in the beginning it just starts out with David, a 12-year-old boy, living his life on the farm with his family and him describing there life. Then you get back into the good stuff. When the father, Wesley. Hears these rumors about Frank it¿s almost too hard him to believe. What makes this even harder for him is the fact that he is the Sherriff and Frank is his brother. More and more evidence starts to come in about these horrific rumors. They even go as far as to questioning a few of the Indian girls. Now what is he to do? A reviewer describes this part as ¿a choice between loyalty to the family and pure justice.¿ With this I would have to agree. He finally takes the step to take in his brother and lock him up in his basement. This would frighten me to be living in a house with a crazed Uncle that god only knows what he would do to my family and I if he had enough guts to kill our housekeeper. I highly recommend this book. I had a wonderful time reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2006

    Montana 1948

    When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books. I assumed that it was going to be a rough read and that I would have to bear it out to the finish. But as I started reading, I was sucked in and couldn¿t stop. Montana is told in the eyes of an innocent twelve-year-old boy, David Hayden. Life is seemingly going well for David and his parents, Wesley and Gail, until they find out that their Sioux housekeeper and long-time family friend Marie Little Soldier has become ill from pneumonia. They are worried about her health, so they call in Uncle Frank, a local war hero and town physician. Marie quickly refused to be examined by Uncle Frank but for an unknown reason. When Marie is being examined, David hears screams and moans coming from the room. He thought nothing of them because he thought it was just standard procedure. As the story continues, the suspense increases as you find out why Marie didn¿t want to be examined. She has been told that Frank molests and rapes Indian patients. When Wes finds out about this issue, he confronts Frank and they both make racial remarks about Native-Americans. Publisher Weekly said that Watson ¿illuminates some dark corners of our national history.¿ I believe that Larry Watson put racism into his book to show that racism is still a major problem in today¿s society and that it is a hated topic that is ignored but should be considered. As Marie¿s health is clearly improving, she suddenly dies. The day of Marie¿s death, David actually witnessed Uncle Frank sneaking out the back door of their house. He finally confesses to his parents and tells them the truth about Marie¿s death. Wesley was completely shocked by this situation and ponders carefully about what he should do to Frank, since being the town sheriff. He takes it into deep consideration and does the only thing he could morally do arrest his brother Frank. But to save the family¿s name from total humiliations, he locks Uncle Frank up in their basement. Barbara Hoffert from the Library Journal says, ¿The moral issues and the consequences of following ones conscience are made painfully evident here.¿ This evidently true being that Wesley had to arrest his own brother and choose justice over family loyalty, which I think was the correct decision in this circumstance. This book was very realistic because it was a prime example of how power is abused and how karma can strike back. This book was fantastic and I would rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to walk away from the book with new morals and outlooks on life. Words: 459

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    not your boring back-in-the-day story

    'When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books.' This is exactly the first thing that I thought when my teacher showed us the book. I thought, ¿Oh my god. This book looks so boring with all the wheat fields on the front! How could this possibly be a good book?¿ The book started off a little slow for me, but I stuck with it hoping that it would get better. And what do you know, it did. What I loved about this book is that it wasn¿t just about farming and buying 25 cent candies, it was actually in depth and told an actual story. With the whole thing about Uncle Frank ¿killing¿ Marie and them trying to figure out how she got so sick, it got you into it right there. Then, when you least expect it, they think that Uncle Frank is raping these Indian girls. This took the book to a whole other level! You don¿t expect something like this because in the beginning it just starts out with David, a 12-year-old boy, living his life on the farm with his family and him describing there life. Then you get back into the good stuff. When the father, Wesley, hears these rumors about Frank it¿s almost too hard for him to believe. What makes this even harder for him is the fact that he is the Sherriff and Frank is his brother. More and more evidence starts to come in about these horrific rumors. They even go as far as to questioning a few of the Indian girls. Now what is he to do? A reviewer describes this part as ¿a choice between loyalty to the family and pure justice.¿ With this I would have to agree. He finally takes the step to take in his brother and locked him up in his basement. This would frighten me to be living in a house with a crazed Uncle that god only knows what he would do to my family and I if he had enough guts to kill our housekeeper. I¿ll leave the ending for you guys to figure out what happens to Uncle Frank and what gets made of the case with Marie. I highly recommend this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    Haley's Review

    ¿The title Montana 1948 seemed to imply a story of a boring childhood, spent hunting, fishing and doing other boring, Steinbeck-style, Midwest activities¿. This was the first thought that came into my head when my teacher handed us the book and told us we were going to be reading it for the next couple days. ¿Oh great, this should be interesting.¿ I thought to myself. My thoughts didn¿t get any better. ¿When I first picked up Montana 1948, it didn¿t seem like one of those page-turning books,¿ Brianne mentioned in her review. I felt the same way. I¿m the type of person if I¿m not interested from the beginning I have no interest at all. Being this was an assignment and required for a grade, I read on. To my surprise the book became interesting and I couldn¿t stop turning the pages. Every page was filled with excitement that I had to know what was going to happen next. The climax of the story was all in the air. I knew the book was going to be an interesting one once the family started to suspect Frank, the doctor, and also family member, of molesting the ill girl. I fist wondered how a family could accuse their own blood of doing something so sick. It all seemed so messed up, but once the end came it was clear to me. If you¿re the type of person that once you¿re into something you don¿t stop until it¿s finished, then I would recommend you reading this book. I¿m not a reader either, so for me to actually finish this book amazes me. It just goes to show how good of a book Montana 1948 is! The saying of don¿t judge a book by its cover is true. Because like I said in the beginning I was not excited at all to be reading a book with a bunch of tall wheat grass, and a barn on the front of it. It seemed like it was going to be a ¿westernized¿ book, but it turned out to be one of the best books I have actually read through, all the way!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    Montana 1948: A Must Read

    When I first picked up this book, I was apprehensive to read it. The title didn¿t jump out at me as a book that I would enjoy reading. I figured it would just be a typical western story, like all other books of that time. I soon found out that Montana 1948 was an excellent read. It¿s one of those books that keep you hooked until the very end and I didn¿t want to put it down. The story takes place in the summer of 1948 in Montana and is told through the eyes of twelve year old David Hayden. While it starts out as any normal summer for a twelve year old boy at the time, David¿s life is soon turned upside down in a story filled with tragedy and justice. Everything seems to be going perfect for David, he has a close family, great friends, and a town that seems to look out for him. Everything changes when his nanny falls ill to pneumonia and she refuses to allow David¿s uncle, Frank, to examine her. After some investigation, rumors begin to surface that Frank has been molesting his Native American patients. When Marie suddenly dies, Frank is the number one suspect, and David¿s father is the one investigating him. This story sends you on a journey filled with rape, racism, murder, and suicide but most importantly loyalty and justice. This is best described by a reviewer from Minnesota, in 1997, as, ¿a choice between loyalty to the family and pure justice.¿ To appreciate Montana 1948 fully, one needs to look past the excitement and really take a look at the moral issues being discussed. While reading you can¿t help but put yourself in the narrator¿s shoes and really imagine yourself in the same position. What would you do if your uncle was accused of murder and your father was the one convicting him? David is faced with questions like this, and is really forced to grown up during this summer which sends him on an emotional coming of age story. Although, Montana 1948 starts out slow, I couldn¿t take my eyes off it and really grew to love it. I highly recommend Montana 1948 to anyone who hasn¿t read it.

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