Beyond the Green
October 2, 2018
Eleven-year-old Britta’s big Mormon family took in little Dori–a member of the Ute tribe–as a baby. Now, four years later, Dori’s birth mother, Irene, is ready to take Dori back. Blunt and feisty, Britta is filled with anger. How can Irene claim Dori when she’s been gone all this time? Britta will stop at nothing to keep her sister, even if it means running away or failing to see beyond her prejudices.
Britta Twitchell is a 12-year-old feisty girl who tells the story of her family and their experience with foster care in the middle of the Uinta Basin and near the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uinta and Ouray Reservation located in Utah right after the time of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
I was 10-years-old living in Utah just like Britta in 1979. I remember so many of my neighbors either fostering Indian children or adopting them and how the kids had such a hard time adjusting to going to public school, learning the odd culture of the Mormon families, having their names changed, and having to speak a new language then being returned to their family’s. Beyond the Green is a really good Middle-Grade Semi-Autobiography. The author’s role as Britta. Her foster sister Gina as Dori. I am not sure how many 9-12-year-old kids will read this book without a little prodding, only because I don’t think that this is the type of book that they will just grab off the library shelf.
I do, however, feel as it middle-grade kids should read this book just as they are required to read Because of Winn Dixie or Where the Red Fern Grows because it is a topic that should be discussed, an era that should be known about. I feel as if Sharlee Glenn does a beautiful job of showing the great love that is between Britta, Cally, and how they have taken Dori into their hearts as a full-blooded sibling, not a Fostered one. Ms. Glenn also shows the flip side of the hard trials that the Indians had when it came to drinking and being able to control the drinking. It was not an easy topic to discuss and even though it is lightly touched on it would be a good way to jump off of for anyone to discuss alcoholism. The other part of the Indian trials is the fact that so many people lost their children and this book shows how hard it was when their children did come back. The only downside to me was that with Dorie/ Chipeta she didn’t struggle with the culture, language, etc when she went back home. That wasn’t the case for the kids that I knew. They struggled mightily. Maybe Dori’s real-life counterpoint Gina didn’t struggle so it wasn’t a point Ms. Glenn thought about writing into her story.
I am not sure how the average person will read this book and not think of it as a Christian/Mormon book and might drop it the second the religion comes into focus. I am glad it wasn’t preachy so it’s a little easier to overlook the religion in the book for those who don’t believe in religion.
Thank you Netgalley, Charlesbridge Press and Author, Sharlee Glenn for the opportunity to read Beyond the Green in lieu of my honest review.