My first reading of this ethnic fiction was as a bowdlerised version within a Readers’ Digest compilation of novels. At the time, I did no research into the reader or its back ground, taking it at face vlue – the account of a child of Cherokee heritage growing up in backwoods Tennessee during the Depression.
I would read it aloud, serial style, to my classes, who were always moved, and hung on every word.
I later found the full book, which contained one chapter omitted by Readers’ Digest.
The book comes up in a blogger here at Best Hoaxes.blogspot.com. The Hoax being the author’s reality was being a white, racist, Ku Klux Klan man. Disappointing. The revelation caused dear Oprah to pull it from her web list of recommended reading, although before the reveal she had acknowledged its spiritul element.
I can separate the author’s fakeness, as separate from his work. If not for this book I would never have known of the fate of the Cherokee people, the “trail of tears”, and their dignity among such losses.
I would still enjoy having a copy on my book shelf for grandchildren to read, and yes, I’d return to it too.