Book Review of
The moving story of a Navajo high school basketball team, its members struggling with the everyday challenges of high school, adolescence, and family, and the great and unique obstacles facing Native Americans living on reservations.
Deep in the heart of northern Arizona, in a small and isolated patch of the vast 17.5-million-acre Navajo reservation, sits Chinle High School. Here, basketball is passion, passed from grandparent to parent to child. Rez Ball is a sport for winters where dark and cold descend fast and there is little else to do but roam mesa tops, work, and wonder what the future holds. The town has 4,500 residents and the high school arena seats 7,000. Fans drive thirty, fifty, even eighty miles to see the fast-paced and highly competitive matchups that are more than just games to players and fans.
Celebrated Times journalist Michael Powell brings us a narrative of triumph and hardship, a moving story about a basketball team on a Navajo reservation that shows how important sports can be to youths in struggling communities, and the transcendent magic and painful realities that confront Native Americans living on reservations. This book details his season-long immersion in the team, town, and culture, in which there were exhilarating wins, crushing losses, and conversations on long bus rides across the desert about dreams of leaving home and the fear of the same.
I first heard about Canyon Dreams on the podcast Nonfiction 4 Life. When I heard the interview with the author, I knew that I wanted to read the book. It has sat in my to be read pile for a few months, and I finally picked it up.
I loved this book! I am not a huge sports fan, but many in my family are football and basketball fans. What I loved about this book is that it shared a story that very few people know about. If you love nonfiction, I highly recommend this one.
This book is about so much more than just basketball. It shares a part of America that few people know about or want to admit exists. I told my husband that he needs to read this one. I also plan to get it for a couple of family members as gifts.