The Man Who Killed the Deer

Over the weekend, I read The Man Who Killed the Deer by Frank Waters. At its heart, the story is about a young man who returns to his pueblo after years of going to boarding school. Because of his experiences in school, he thinks and acts differently from the other Pueblo Indians. He is an outsider among his own people.

Early in the story, he kills a deer after hunting season ends, which is where the book gets its title. He also didn’t follow the Pueblo customs and ritual after killing the deer, which causes him to be viewed as “different.” Now, he is in trouble with both sides. Throughout the book, he struggles to balance his school attitudes of learning and living and the Pueblo beliefs of spirituality and community. Eventually, he chooses one over the other, but you’ll just have to read the book to learn which way he goes!

I first read this book many years ago, and I remembered enjoying it. Now that I have read it again, I remember why. Not only is the story really good but also it makes me think about all the ways and beliefs that try to influence me and how I can decide what path I want to follow. Highly recommended!

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