Thursday, 10 September 2009

The Turtle Catcher ~ Nicole Helget

Liesel Richter was born with an abnormality. In our modern society filled with medical advances her problem would have been easily remedied shortly after birth. But growing up in the early 1900s in rural New Germany, Minnesota, Liesel is forced to conceal a secret shame for the rest of her life. She never leaves the farm, and is content with taking care of her brothers. Her only consolation is the lifelong friendship she shares with the “slow” boy from down the road: Lester Sutter.

The Turtle Catcher chronicles Leisel’s life and that of her family. The reader learns a great deal of Minnesota history from the time of the Dakota Conflict to the period after World War One. We also get a glimpse into the mentality that surely abounded among a community of German-Americans, conflicted between their loyalties to their homeland and extended families back in Germany and their new homes here in America.

I hated this book. Hated with a capital H. The book opens with a murder/suicide, and if you think it surely must be more uplifting after that grisly beginning you would be incorrect. The entire Richter family is confronted with depressing trials and tragedies that encompass the entire book. One would be led to believe that a German immigrant’s life is one of solitary unhappiness. After viewing Leisel’s deformity, Maggie, Leisel’s mother, is pronounced to love her “hard”. In other words she didn’t show love at all but rather neglect for the poor helpless child. Not only that, but the book was lewd in several parts. It contained very mature adult themes and content. The author does have an intriguing writing style, but I would not recommend this book to anyone to read. Christian readers beware.

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