Parents' Guide to

My Good Man

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Fraught, darkly funny coming-of-age tale mostly for adults.

Book cover: My Good Man by Eric Gansworth

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Is It Any Good?

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Eric Gansworth's adult tale finds a 25-year-old Tuscarora man sorting out his identity amid conflicting demands, clashing worldviews, and complex relationships. Crude, funny, introspective and leisurely, My Good Man is packed with historic and cultural references, including the Two Row Wampum Treaty in the early 1600s that sought to define forever the relationship between Indigenous tribes and Dutch settlers; the Love Canal toxic waste disaster; and the Canadian band Rush. Set in 1992 near Niagara Falls, on and off the Tuscarora reservation, the story finds protagonist Brian trying to find a path between two worlds, alienated and typecast in his newspaper job, but ostracized and seen as weird back on the Rez. It's complicated, partly due to the family business.

"My grandfather's older brother ... might not be the only remaining medicine man, but he was the last one working in the open. Not like, hanging a shingle with a spiral handprint out front, and dreamcatchers dangling from beneath it, or other ridiculous New Age s--t. The Rez didn't speak of it, but if you needed something? You knew where to go. As soon as you say 'Medicine family' off the Rez, though, suddenly some woman drenched in patchouli and turquoise was reporting her psychic dreams and secret high Indian cheekbones. Or a middle-aged blond guy with a sad possum-tail braid was asking you to bless his drum group's digs in the old growth he bought day-trading."

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