Monday, February 6, 2012

Patron Review

Maggie’s Story: Teachings of a Cherokee Healer
by Pamela Dawes Tambornino

Maggie’s Story: Teachings of a Cherokee Healer offers a delightful collection of tales from Tambornino’s early years.  Based primarily on the author’s personal interactions with her Cherokee grandmother, these teachings inform and entertain the reader with humor and subtle sophistication.

Tambornino’s use of vivid imagery, everyday language and natural rhythm create a smooth narrative quality.  One could almost imagine sitting around a campfire or rocking chair to hear Tambornino read these stories to an audience of all ages and cultures.  In fact, that is what she did at a recent reading I attended at the Lawrence Public Library.

As expected, many of the stories focus on relationships with animals and plants.  In Strawberries / ANI, Tambornino retells a story of first man and first woman, and how the sun intervened to heal their relationship and teach them about cooperation.  In Mamma Skunk / DI LI, a young girl observes how respect for animals is good policy, while Noodling/Di Ga Lv Nv Hi and Reclaiming Grandma’s Chicken Eggs/ Ju We Tsi  relate the humorous results of doing things one’s own way.

There are a number of tales about healing, of course, plus numerous descriptions of culturally specific details. Examples include Trail of Tears, Beads, and Learning Cherokee.

In the end, it was difficult to pick a favorite.  Not only was I learning information about a culture and family, I was also relearning how to laugh.  And, I learned how to remember.

An added bonus to attending a live reading was meeting Ms. Tambornino.  I had already spoken to her hours after finishing Maggie’s Story.  Again, I found her warm and inviting.  Plus, she was open to writing a second collection of stories.

As a writer, I hope to be as prolific, generous and skillful as this talented Haskell professor in conveying the stories of my youth.  Let’s wish her the best in her endeavors as we anticipate another round of Pamela’s stories.

Stephanie Ann Barrows

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