Reviews

Daughters of the Deer, by Danielle Daniel

tash21's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

shegetsliterary's review against another edition

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emotional informative reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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lilliangretsinger's review against another edition

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5.0

Thoughts to come

leahvanderweide's review against another edition

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1.0

I'm livid at the harmful nature of this book.

Danielle Daniel herself is complicated. 

Her bio:  As both a settler and a woman with an Algonquin root ancestor, she is aware of the way she walks on the land. She originally identified as Métis, as her maternal line belonged to and were voting citizens of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Out of respect for the Red River Métis Nation, and the legal and political changes that have recently transpired, she respectfully no longer identifies as Métis.

So, complicated. I'm absolutely not questioning her connections to ancestry. It's complicated, I'm a settler, I've heard different things from different Elders so whatever, I'll be hesitant but never directly question her. Not my place. Canada did a lot of horrible things to purposefully interrupt Indigenous personhood and it's not my place to gatekeep. I am, however, fuming over how she handled this story.

She wrote "a historical fiction novel inspired by the lives of her ancestors— an Algonquin woman and a soldier/settler from France, and their first born daughter Jeanne." Daniel made Jeanne two-spirited, and I have big big big big feelings about the way that she handled this.

SpoilerJeanne's female lover commits suicide because she is forced into a marriage and her husband rapes her, her lover's body is brought to Jeanne by the rapist and he screams at her that the young woman's death is Jeanne's fault, Jeanne gets horribly depressed (understandably) and then at the end of the book Jeanne is raped and killed​. I am livid​. This tragedy felt like it existed exclusively as a plot device. The queer community experiences a heartbreaking amount of erasure and violence (and it's exponentially worse for Indigenous and POC people who are also queer) and while this novel was trying to say there is nothing wrong with being two-spirit and/or queer the fact that basically all of the queer characters died brutal deaths is truly abhorrent
CW for significant plot spoilers. 

So it's one thing to be writing about a distant relative, I think that actually makes a semblance of sense. I can absolutely respect that. Daniel's writing is beautiful and she created a fairly compelling narrative, if it wasn't for literally everything. The story was full of harmful tropes. Reductionist approaches to characterizations and simply using diversity in a way that felt like it was sensationalizing it and then
Spoilerliterally killing the diversity.


So yeah. Livid. 

This book was written for settlers and it's fucking harmful. I wonder if Danielle Daniel has ever read anything by or about Gerald Vizenor (please look up "terminal creeds" and "survivance". This particular book establishes a narrative that Indigenous peoples are being erased instead of focusing heavily on how they resisted assimilation and violence. This is a prominent perspective in settler culture and this book is perpetuating it, specifically because of how the book ended. Anyone who I've spoken to about this book was like 'It did an amazing job of showing how Indigenous cultures have been erased' and no one talks about how so many communities are still resisting colonialism, that's fucked up and perpetuating harmful settler stereotypes).

In this particular instance, perhaps focus on reading Indigenous authors who have a more in depth connection to community. Read something by Joshua Whitehead, Qwo-Li Driskill, Ma-Nee Chacaby, Adam Garnet Jones, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Arielle Twist, Eden Robinson, Lee Maracle, Richard Wagamese and others.

m_storky's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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mooncrab's review against another edition

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4.0

In one word: depressing! There is nothing happy that happens in this book. We receive beautiful, wise teachings but it is demonstrated by horrible happenings. This reflects the tragic plight of Indigenous people and the intensity of it all during the transitional time in which this story takes place. It really is a heart-wrenching, difficult, sad story. I really enjoy the layers of it, spanning generations; it is a unique tale and I haven’t read anything like this before. There were times where the dialogue felt strange but I wondered if it’s because it is supposed to be reminiscent of how people spoke in the 17th century? The writing often felt a little juvenile too, perhaps a reflection of Danielle Daniel’s professional experience as a children’s author. Overall this is a special read, a unique book that will leave a hole in your heart & heaviness in your gut.

avelea26's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

kathsshelf's review against another edition

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challenging emotional sad

4.75

katiemarqs's review against another edition

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fast-paced

4.0

reallyintoreading's review against another edition

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informative reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75