Perma Red
By: Debra Magpie Earling
CSKT PS 3605 .A75 P47 2002

As summer starts, most people probably welcome the season for its swimming, barbecuing, or vacationing. As a librarian, I’m wired slightly different than most people, as I like summer for the warm days spent outside… reading. Yes, reading. And a good novel is the perfect ingredient for a perfect summer afternoon.

Perma Red is the ideal summer novel. It entertains, shocks, frustrates, and moves. It drew me in and wouldn’t let go. The writing is beautiful; the characters beautifully flawed. Did the feminist in me want Louise to leave Baptiste forever, but the romantic in me want them to live happily ever after? You bet. Did I despise Harvey Stoner? Undoubtedly. Did my heart break for sweet, love-torn Charlie? To tears. Perma Red is a book that made me feel for the characters in a way few books can.

If the characters weren’t enough, Magpie Earling’s story is set on the Flathead reservation. Towns like Perma, Dixon, and Hot Springs bring the book to life. We can see Louise walking along Highway 200, not just imagine it. Magpie Earling also writes from her only family legends. The mystery behind the characters becomes even stronger when I realize that it might all be true. Where is the line between truth and legend? The reader is left to ponder.

Originally posted in June 2013