Book Club- There There

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Our latest book club read was There There by Tommy Orange and it was amazing!  The novel features several Cheyenne Native Americans all in Oakland California that are connected by one big event.  This book tells the story of the urban native and for that reason alone, it’s something everyone should read.  I feel like in 2019 it is still difficult to find a Native American character on TV or in movies that isn’t a “savage” or someone that’s a tracker living off the land.  This book does an amazing job of not casting all of the characters in a stereotypical light while using each  one to help show an issue often faced in Native American communities, like alcoholism or identity.  Several of the characters wrestle with what it is to be native and I found that so timely.  There seems to be a debate going on right now in the native community about what it means to truly to be a Native American.  Is it tribal citizenship, blood quantum, or something else? I feel like one character put it best by saying: “You’re Native because you’re Native because you’re Native”.  My husband is Native American, Samish specifically, and has talked a lot about the issues brought up in the book.

Not only did I like the general content of this book, but all of the characters had depth.  Tommy Orange is an exceptional writer.  His descriptions are lovely and poetic without being over the top.  I really cannot wait to see what else he writes, because reading his prose was a real treat.

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  If you’re native, you may see yourself or you family in one of the characters.  If you’re not native, it can help you gain some insight on issues going on today in the Native American community (even though the book is fiction).

For the menu, I took direction from the book and also rifled through some of our Native American cookbooks.  This one and this one are particularly interesting.  Here’s what we had:

  • Bison fry bread tacos- Fry bread tacos are mentioned in the book in a not so positive light, so I had some trepidation about serving them.  However, part of the negativity stems from the fact that they originated from natives not having many supplies on hand.  While this is devastating, it is also a part of their history and I think, important to not forget.
  • Wild rice and corn salad
  • Corn creme brûlée 
  • Blackberry lemonade (recipe shared below)- Because alcoholism is such an issue in the Native American community and also discussed in the book, I did not feel right serving a cocktail this time around.

Our next book is Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link.  I’d love to hear what you thought of it or There There.  As always, you can follow along with what we’re reading by checking out my Book Club board on Pinterest.


Blackberry Lemonade

Since we’re in the midst of blackberry season, it seemed only right to make a refreshing beverage with them.  I first thought about making a syrup but then realized I could get away with using superfine sugar which was less time and effort.  

First you’re going to smoosh the blackberries through a strainer to get the juice. 

Measure out how much blackberry juice this is and add an equal amount of the lemon juice.  Now add the superfine sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. 

Take a taste to determine how diluted you want it.  I only added about 1 cup of water to mine but one of the book club ladies said she’d probably dilute it more.  To each her own.

Serve over ice with a lemon slice or blackberry for garnish. 


Blackberry Lemonade
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  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 4-6 lemons juiced
  • 1/2 cup super fine suga


  1. Smoosh blackberries through a strainer. 
  2. Measure out blackberry juice and add equal amounts of lemon juice. 
  3. Add superfine sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. 
  4. Taste and dilute to your liking with cold water.
  5. Serve over ice with a lemon slice or blackberry for garnish.

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