Diversiverse! Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend by Erika T Wurth

September 18, 2014 Contemporary Fiction, Diversiverse 14

Greetings Bookworms!

If you’ve been floating around the book blogosphere at all, you’ve probably noticed there’s a little event going on called A More Diverse Universe. It is, in a word, awesome. The purpose of the event is to encourage readers to step out of their comfort zone (or for me, my lazypants-can’t-be-bothered-to-pay-attention-to-things zone) and pick up books written by people of color. To participate you need to read and review ONE book by a person of color. Talk about low-pressure! I’ll be the first to admit that my reading list ends up being rather, uh, Caucasian-heavy? It’s not something I do intentionally, but this event is the kick in the pants I need to PAY ATTENTION. So I am! Today we’re going to talk about a book by Native American author Erika T Wurth called Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This in no way affects my opinion of the book. My integrity is more expensive than a paperback novel.*


Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend tells the story of a mixed race Native American girl living in Colorado. Margritte’s community is poverty stricken and plagued with alcoholism, drug use, and violence. Though only 16 years old, Margritte and her cousin Jake supplement their pathetically small incomes by moonlighting as marijuana dealers. Margritte spends most of her time hustling and partying, giving her schoolwork short shrift. crazyhorsesgirlfriendShe’s just trying to survive high school so she can leave her dead-end town in the dust. Her home life leaves much to be desired as her father is an abusive alcoholic and her mother refuses to leave him despite his dangerous behavior. Margritte is often tasked with taking care of her young twin sisters and trying to keep them out of harm’s way. Jake keeps landing himself in juvie, and you never know when a meth-head is going to stab you. And because all that drama isn’t enough, let’s not forget about teenagers and their raging hormones! Margritte’s got a hot steaming pile of crap to wade through if she’s ever going to escape her circumstances.

I know this book sounds like a total downer but it is INCREDIBLE. It’s raw and gritty and intense. It gives a very realistic portrayal of poverty in Native American communities and the choices young people are forced to make. I will warn any tender-hearted readers that this book doesn’t shy away from anything. If you’re offended by profanity, sex, drug usage, or violence this book is NOT for you. If you’re on the fence, though, you need to give it a shot. It really is just THAT good. Since we’re celebrating diversity this week, I thought I’d share a little something-something from the author’s biography:

Erika T. Wurth is Apache / Chickasaw / Cherokee and was raised on the outskirts of Denver. She teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and was a writer-in-residence at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Boulevard, Fiction, Pembroke, Florida Review, Stand, Cimarron Review, The Cape Rock, Southern California Review and Drunken Boat. Her debut collection of poetry, Indian Trains, was published by The University of New Mexico’s West End Press.

Did y’all see that?! She teaches at Western Illinois University! Why, that’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from my cornfield. You can bet I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for author events in the area!

Talk to me, Bookworms! Do you typically pay much attention to the backgrounds of the authors you frequently read? Is my laziness normal?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

14 Responses to “Diversiverse! Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend by Erika T Wurth”

  1. Hobbie DeHoy

    When I worked in a public library, I purposely read books from our African-American Fiction section so I could better serve that clientele. However, that’s a good while ago now, and your post is making me think that I, too, need to intentionally make this jump. Thanks!

  2. Sarah @ Sarah Says Read

    Sounds really good!

    It’s not just you. I never really paid attention before (to race or sex of authors), but I generally read pretty widely before anyways. I started keeping track of stuff like that this year… I’m not expecting my stats to be very pretty, but it’s a start. (Also, I don’t think there’s a magical “good range” – I’m not going to be 50/50 for race and sex of authors, I just don’t feel like paying THAT much attention.)

    • Words For Worms

      Oh my word, I’m the same way with gender. I read a lot more female authors than male. It’s not intentional, it just happens. So many female authors use initials as their pen names anyway! I’ll never hit perfect equality with race or gender, but this has been a fun experiment.

  3. Jenny @ Reading the End

    It’s definitely not just you. Because of other bloggers talking about diversity in reading, I started paying better attention, and this year I set a goal to read one POC author in every five books I read. I’m at about 35% nonwhite authors, but it definitely requires me to keep paying attention.

    This sounds really good! I haven’t read nearly as many books by Native American authors as I’d like, so I’m putting this straight on my list.

  4. AMB (Koiviolet)

    This book sounds very interesting. It’s good to step out of our reading comfort zones every now and then. By the way, you read my book, and I don’t identify as white (I’m half South Asian). 🙂

    As for me, I pay a lot of attention to racial/cultural diversity in the books I recommend to my children, but not as much attention to it when it comes to the books I choose for myself. I should pay more attention to it, and the publishing industry should promote more authors from diverse backgrounds.

  5. Fence

    I used never pay attention to the background of authors. If the book sounded or looked good I’d pick it up. But since events like the Diverse Universe and others I’ve tried to pay more attention to diversifying my reading. Hasn’t decreased the quality of my reading in the slightest, in fact, it has probably increased my enjoyment as I’ve come across authors I might never have found just browsing in the book shop.

  6. Aarti

    Thank you so much for participating in Diversiverse! I agree that it can be tough to pay attention and then to be prescriptive in the way you approach your reading. But honestly, it starts to feel so natural pretty quickly. Like Jenny aiming for 1 of 5 books, but ending up closer to 1 of 3. I too started with a goal of 20% last year but am closer to 50% this year. And yes, it takes diligence, but it never makes me feel restricted.

    Sorry, had to give a plug there!

    This book sounds wonderful! I am putting it on my wish list. Have you ever read Monkey Beach, by Eden Robinson? I think you might like that, based on this book.

  7. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I’m beginning to have a new appreciation for books that seem like they’ll be real downers. I’ve been brave and picked a few up lately and been pleasantly surprised. Sometimes they can be depressing, but they can also be very moving, enjoyable reads 🙂

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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