A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water is, without question, one of the most moving books I’ve ever read. I remember in college, when Dorris committed suicide, everyone was reading this book. My favorite professor held a book discussion about it at her house, and I just couldn’t manage the read at that time.

It is the story of three women: Rayona, her mother Christine, and Christine’s mother Aunt Ida. The stories are told separately but intermingle with common events. Each voice is unique and striking. It starts out with Rayona, who is a teenager, and all of the questions about why her mom and grandmother do what they do are answered through their voices in subsequent parts.

Every woman should read this book. It is who we are, with all of the complications of relationships, of motherhood, of family, obligation, men, and emotion. It is absolutely stunning that the book was written by a man, that Dorris had such deep insight into the complexity of female relationships amongst ourselves.

I will read this one again…I have a feeling that with the knowledge of what came “before” I’ll be able to understand more thoroughly what happens. This book was a beautiful reading experience.

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