Crow Mary by Kathleen Grissom ~~ Review

    4 out of 5 stars   ~~  Book Review


A much-awaited novel by Kathleen Grissom, who is well known and touted for her two previous books, The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything.  While she never mis-stepped when writing the latter and, as far as I could tell, got it mostly, if not entirely right, there were a few things that made me itch to correct her while reading Crow Mary.  Maybe I’m overly sensitive as I myself lived on tribal lands (Makah Nation) as a young woman for over two years in Neah Bay, Washington. (Pacific NW.)

I had a problem with several nation lineage issues regarding Crow Mary’s knowledge of her own people. Wouldn’t Mary mention that the Crow People were originally a minor subset of the Sioux Nation and now were at war? The Crow had migrated from the Great Lakes area to the Dakotas and Montana.  Know that in spite of the fact that the Sioux were now an enemy of the Crow People?

Secondly, Nakoda is spelled in the book with a ‘D’ when the correct spelling and the most commonly used name is Nakota with an ‘t’. 

Mary is a proud Crow woman who really doesn’t take any guff off of any man, native or white.  Yet she refers to herself and to her tribe as “Indians”, a derogatory term invented by the white man.   I don’t know of any written history of where the People in question thought or spoke of themselves as “Indian”.  I think the author also missed an opportunity to weave in Mary’s nation’s full name that the white man bastardized it to simply, “Crow”. 

Please don’t misunderstand, this is a really, really good story, and maybe the average reader wouldn’t pick up on any of the things that bothered me but be that as it may…..I could not give the book the resounding 5 stars that I had anticipated doing.  

Spoiler Alert:  Don’t read the prologue. It’s a clear indication of how the book ends. (or one of the endings) Within the book itself once I read of the practice of the ‘wolfers’ using strychnine when trapping, I thought I knew how the book would end and that spoiled it for me somewhat. 

Did you miss my interview with Kathleen Grissom?

To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my  On the home page, enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  March-Apr:   Joshua Hood, author of ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE TREADSTONE RENDITION  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard May: Victoria Costello. June: Laila Ibrahim


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