Sunday, February 24, 2013

Medicine Man I, The Chief Of All Time by S.R. Howen A Book Review


American Indians have been given so little recognition in our history, it's sad.  Even worse is knowing the reality of how settlers and founders treated the true owners of our soil.

Reading this book not only enlightened some realities and truths, but it gives you some insight into the if things had been different realm.  Of course the fiction of the story gave it breadth and vigor but just opening up the thoughts of what really happened in history kept me wondering how this was going to go, and wanting to see a good ending to this story.

The main character, Shannon Running Deer is a Native American Indian that escaped the poverty stricken obscured prison walls of the reservation to become a doctor of modern medicine.  He was raised to become a medicine man, so leaving to be embedded into the western civilization of medicine was akin to denouncing his heritage.  That was tantamount to the most shameful thing you could do.

While his character surveys relationships with his family and inherited customs, he staunchly tries to define his true beliefs, core feelings, and hopes for the future.  Being a doctor is his calling, and with Shannon's pinnacle being to help people, he wants to do just that.  The problem for him is helping people the best way he can without sacrificing his hallowed culture or his modern medical knowledge.  Finding a compromise is not possible.  He has to choose one or the other.  At least that is what everyone else keeps telling him.

As the story moved between two realities, I actually sometimes felt I must have missed something.  Did I?  I really don't know.  I didn't want to go back and reread something to get the answer.  I had questions, but just didn't feel like they had to be answered.  Maybe it was just too trivial to impact the story, so I didn't care.  I do know that I wanted to see that things changed for the better, so I really wanted to get to the end.  That was much more important.

At first I didn't think a whole lot of Shannon, but as he developed I grew to like him a little more.  Not a lot more, but what he was doing was more vital to me anyway.  I believe he became a very likeable person once he became fully immersed in his chosen path because his arrogance would have had no wings.  Unless there is a sequel I will never know, because it ended before he truly finished his character transformation.

Overall I enjoyed the story.  It was hard to follow at times, but as it kept moving along, you got it.  Who knows, I could be the slow one.  I loved the ending as I cheered for better things to happen, and I would definitely be on the American Indian's side of things then, now and always.

I would suggest this book to everyone.  It is entertaining, and thought provoking in a positive and enlightening way.