Thursday, October 25, 2012

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison

Title:  Indian Captive:  The Story of Mary Jemison
Author:  Lois Lenski
Approximate independent reading level:  8th grade

Summary:  Almost twenty years before the Revolutionary War, the Jemison family lived on the frontier of America.  Mary, also called Molly, lives in a log cabin with her parents and five siblings.  Although some of the neighbors have decided to return east because of worry about the Indians, Molly's father is sure his family is safe enough and plans on staying to plant his corn.  But the Indians arrive the next morning and take most of the family captive, although the two older brothers are able to escape to tell the neighbors.  Molly and a young neighbor boy are separated from the rest of their families and hurried away by one group of Indians.  She is taken to live with a tribe of Seneca Indians to replace a tribe member who was killed.  The story that follows describes her first year with the Senecas, as she attempts to escape, learns their rituals, and tries to discover how or even whether a white girl can live with the Indians.

Review:  Molly Jemison actually lived, and the events in this story actually happened, although the author does take some liberties with timing.  The author is authentic to Seneca culture and to Molly's experience.  I think this could be an interesting as well as an informative read on the Seneca Indians and on what it might be like to be completely alone in a strange place with strange people, ripped from family.
****  Four stars

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