Reading Instead of Writing

Reading Instead of Writing

I did a little of both over the holidays. I usually prefer books over movies, but I loved the movie “Dancing With Wolves.” So I finally picked up the sequel, titled “The Holy Road” by Michael Blake.

First off, I think it would be challenging (make that daunting) to write a sequel to a novel that was made into such a popular movie.

Second, this is pretty different: Unlike Dances with Wolves, there is no ‘main character’ in this book. That is both a plus and a minus.

On the plus side, it allows Blake to share several very distinct points of view (from staunch resistance to resigned acquiescence) – which is probably a very accurate depiction of the internal struggles of the Native Americans (considering the history in play here). I was impressed by Blake’s ability to do this.

On the minus side, it is difficult to empathize with any one character when you’re jumping from one head to another every chapter. For me, the minus over-rode the plus – in the first story I cheered for Dances with Wolves as I got to know him and his deep struggles. Although I could feel respect toward the various characters in this novel, that strong bond between reader and character did not have a chance to form.

(I also thought the book needed a better title – there was very little to do with the railroad (“Holy Road”) in this book.)

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