Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Miles Pruitt teaches high school English in the town of Staggerford, Minnesota. He was born and raised in Staggerford and pretty much knows everyone there. He is single and rents a room from Agnes McGee, who is an elderly grade school teacher. Agnes is a devout Catholic and Miles is a lapsed Catholic which worries Agnes and so she prays for him. Miles, who is in his mid-thirties, is her only boarder.
Set in the early 1970s, Miles finds himself often at odds with the principal of the high school, Wayne Workman. Workman thinks Miles is a slacker and thinks it is his job to try to bring him up to snuff, or possible ride Miles hard enough to get him to quit his job. Workman married the only woman Miles ever loved, Anna Thea, whom Miles calls Thanatopsis, because he didn't quite catch her name when they first met.
The Staggerford area is also the home to the Sandhill Reservation and the reservation kids attend school in Staggerford. A Staggerford boy is dating a reservation girl and gets into a confrontation with the girl's brother and beats the native boy up. A deputation of Sandhill people stage a gathering at the high school, demanding justice for the beaten up boy. This sends the whole Staggerford community into an uproar, this being the days of AIM (the American Indian Movement) and the governor sends in troopers and troops to quell any possible trouble. Somehow Miles ends up in the thick of it all, including getting involved with a troubled female student and her unstable mother, who is known as the Bonewoman because she travels from house to house asking for any waste bones. Anyways, it all comes to a head and turns out badly for Miles but OK for most everyone else.
I really was enjoying this book quite a lot until the end, which made me feel like I had just been shit on. So although it was quite an enjoyable story up to that point, I am rating it "bad" because I just totally hated the ending.