Saturday, July 11, 2020

Review: Crooked Hallelujah

Crooked Hallelujah Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Can I love anything the way that I used to love the mystery of my mother, her strength in suffering?"

This novel follows four generations of Cherokee women from the 1970s into the near future, mostly focusing on their relationships with each other. One mother, Justine, leaves the comfort of her family to try to make a better living in Texas with her daughter Reney, and those two are largely the focus.

There is a thread of Pentecostalism throughout as Justine's mother attends a Holiness church, meaning long dresses and speaking in tongues and a lot of rules. That sets the stage for quite a bit of rebellion and subterfuge.

I've seen so many reviews from readers complaining there are "not enough" native elements, so disappointed these strong women are not "being more Cherokee" and how it is "really just about poor people." I don't even know where to start with readers who punish a book for their own lack of understanding. Others were upset over having to work to figure out the narrator in new sections. Please ignore those reviews if you are interested in the lives of strong women with a lot working against them, in a bleak landscape like Oklahoma and Texas, and if you're not afraid of a little work on the reader's part.

This book comes out July 14 and I had a copy from the publisher through Netgalley.

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