Monday, August 06, 2007

Little Tree

I've been reading The Education of Little Tree, for the third summer, enjoying it immensely. If you haven't read it, you should. It's such a delightful book. Which you'll find out.

I love this book (and I assign it for summer reading), but there is a lot of controversy about it, and I'm trying to decide how to view it. (It claimed to be autobiographical, but Forrest Carter was not Cherokee and not raised by his grandparents, and in short, he was total faking it.) Here's a pretty brief and good article about it, which ends like this:
But the mystery of Forrest Carter remains. Was he a racist who broke with his old life and privately reinvented himself as a touchy-feely writer relating old family legends? Was he, as his brother Doug claimed, spinning yarns to raise money for a political comeback? Was he a con-man who found a rich vein to mine? And does it, if the words on the page ring true, matter what he was?
And I'd really like say that it doesn't, because I want to keep on reading it, and keep on loving it. But I'm not sure.

Here's a lovely tidbit for you.

I squatted in the middle of the spring branch and watched one little spider trying to get his cable across. He had determined that he was going to have the widest pearl net anywheres up and down the whole spring branch; and he picked a wide place. He would tie his cable, jump in the air and fall in the water. He'd get swept downstream, fighting for his life, crawl out on the bank and come back to that same fern. Then he'd try again.

The third time he came back to the fern and walked out on the end and laid down, crossing his front arms under his chin, to study the water. I figured he was might near give out--I was, and my bottom was numbing cold from squatting in the spring branch. He laid there thinking and studying. In a minute he got a thought, and commenced to jump up and down on the fern. Up and down. The fern got to rising and falling. He kept at it, jumping to move the fern down and riding it back up. Then, of a sudden, when the fern rose high, he jumped, letting out his umbrella--and he made it.

He was fired up proud and leapt around after he made it, until he nearly fell off. His pearl net become the widest I ever saw.

You see why I want it to be true?

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