My Place Among Them

A Novel

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
358 Pages
Reviewed on 08/27/2023
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Author Biography

My real name is Gwendolyn McPhail.
It all started with the words "Iron Horse" and stories I'd heard about my great-grandfather for as long as I could remember. Those stories led to a lifelong interest in horses, Indigenous culture and the impact education has on people's lives. "My Place Among Them" is the story of a young Lakota man named John who survives the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 and his lifelong friendship with the young white man who is his teacher at the reservation school where John is forced to enroll as soon as his wounds heal. The two remain friends throughout John's experiences with the government's Indian Education Policy, numerous moves around the country, marriage, death and the societal changes that result from the government's actions.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

My Place Among Them is a work of fiction in the historical fiction, interpersonal drama, and cultural writing subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author J. Stanion. Based on real events, the story delves into the life of a young boy who survives the Wounded Knee massacre but is subsequently enrolled in the federal government's Indian Education program. The boy's exceptional intellect and dedication lead him to excel in his studies, forging a deep connection with his first teacher, a white man working at Pine Ridge School. However, both characters face personal and societal obstacles as they strive to bridge the gap between Native American and white cultures. This captivating novel, taken from the author's great-grandfather's manuscript, follows the boy's journey as he navigates the challenges of assimilation and cultural identity.

Author J. Stanion has crafted a poignant exploration of cultural assimilation, identity, and the impact of historical events on individuals' lives. The story's rich historical context and well-drawn characters create a compelling narrative that resonates with readers long after the final page, and I found this work to be absolutely brimming with detail and a well-researched atmosphere, attitude, and drama. One feature that I especially appreciated was the way that intolerance was handled and not used for graphic, dramatic effect, but still shown in a raw fashion for all the harm it can do, and balanced well with other characters trying to change that for future generations. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend My Place Among Them to anyone seeking a deeply interesting and heartfelt personal tale.