Saturday, May 3, 2014

Between Two Worlds

Between Two Worlds  by Katherine Kirkpatrick

Eqariusaq has had an almost life-long association with polar explorer Robert Peary and his family.  When she was very young, the family renamed Eqariusaq "Billie Bah" and brought her to spend a year in America with the Peary family, where she spoke English, wore "civilized" clothing, and was the first of her people to see the modern world filled with trees, horse-drawn carriages, trees, museums, and more.  Billie Bah successfully returned to her people, but she thinks that her journey inspired others to go with the Pearys, and none of these have ever returned.  All save one died of disease...including Billie Bah's own parents.

Now 16 years old, Billie Bah must face changes in her life.  She loves her husband, but she also grows to love one of the sailors she is "traded" to (temporarily) in exchange for guns and ammunition.  She discovers the truth about her parents' death, and she tries to sort out her feelings for Peary and his family and find her own place in the world.

The real Billie Bah with Robert Peary

Woven into the story are fascinating details of life in this tiny Greenlandic community.  Tribal customs and expectations, vocabulary, and descriptions of building fox traps, auk snares, and  rock igloos are described with meticulous detail that never becomes didactic or boring.  Extensive author notes identify factual (and fictional) aspects of the story.

Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult.  An excellent choice for historical fiction or diversity assignments.

Alcohol, death, ghosts, grieving, guys, multi-ethnic, recommended, religious beliefs, sexual situations, star trek sex.

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