Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets by Patricia Clark Smith

223167_Sch_RD_Weetamoo_0.tif(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Neepunna Keeswosh

Moon When Corn is Ripe

[Late August, 1653]

Mettapoiset

He [Father] laid his hand gently on my shoulder and told me that if I, Weetamoo, am to become sachem of us Pocassets after him, and prove a good leader, I must learn to walk more carefully through the world.

I shook my hair out of my eyes and stared up at him in surprise.  I said he surely could not mean that I was poor at tracking game or at passing unseen through the woods.  He knows I can follow almost any trail, and he has seen for himself how I can edge my way near enough to a doe and her pair of speckled fawns to hear their three separate breaths.  Did he not teach me these skills himself, I spluttered, and was I not better at it than any boy or girl in our village?

Meh.  That’s all I really have to say about Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets.  This should have been a really interesting book because so far it’s the only one I’ve read where the narrator in reality would not actually have been able to read or write.  Okay, fair enough; Native Americans have a great oral storytelling tradition and I’d never heard of Weetamoo before.

But there wasn’t anything really great about this book.  I learned a lot about Native Americans in early-contact days with settlers, especially their daily life, and I certainly learned a lot about Weetamoo herself, but the book never really made the leap from decent to great.  Weetamoo was a great narrator, the book was informative and it was reasonably well paced, but nothing really stood out.  Maybe it was Patricia Clark Smith’s simplistic writing style or the fact that I’ve been reading way too many Royal Diaries lately, but it was only meh.

If you or your tween/teen like uplifting endings, this book is also not for you.  Weetamoo fought against the settlers later in life, so you can imagine what a depressing Historical Note that makes.  But if you want to learn more about American history, Native American culture and Weetamoo, an important but largely forgotten historical figure, you’ll love this book.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

Amazon*     Barnes and Noble*

*Available as used only.

Leave a Reply