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Thurlo, Aimee & David. The spirit line.

Penguin, Viking. 222p. c2004. 0-670-03645-5. $15.99. JS

Crystal Manyfeathers' upcoming 15th birthday will be bittersweet. She will undergo the Navaho Kinaalda ritual that marks her passage into adulthood, and she will experience the first anniversary of her mother's death. Crystal's legacy from her mother is her weaving talent. She hand-weaves rugs using traditions passed down through generations and is finishing a special rug for her Kinaalda ceremony. However, in defiance of the culture from which she wishes to escape, Crystal leaves out the spirit line, the flaw intentionally woven as a symbol of respect to Spider Woman. Crystal disregards advice from her best friend Junior who is studying to be a Navaho healer. He warns her of the consequences of disrespecting her culture. Soon, she finds herself falling asleep at her loom, unable to weave. Then, the unthinkable happens--someone steals her rug. She and Junior must find her rug in time for the ceremony, and along the way, Junior helps Crystal discover her heritage.

The Thurlos are Navaho insiders and sensitively present the cultural conflict and identity quest that many young people experience. Navaho beliefs, traditions, and rituals are woven throughout the story line, and readers, as well as Crystal, gain an appreciation for the traditional ways of her people. Readers also get a glimpse into the Native craft market and learn how unscrupulous dealers deceive artisans and buyers alike. Michele Winship, Asst. Prof., Capital Univ., Columbus, OH
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Winship, Michele
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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