#CBR4 Review 17: Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

1 Apr

The premise of Erdrich’s Shadow Tag is what caught my eye: a woman discovers her husband has been reading her diary, and begins keeping two diaries, one for herself and one to manipulate her husband.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the novel was much more…bleak, and tense, than I imagined.  The story is ultimately one of a woman trying to escape her abusive husband, and about the bond between Gil and Irene that keeps her in the relationship despite the fact that she, and her children are suffering.

Gil, an artist, became famous painting Irene’s portrait.  A portion of the book deals with how Irene copes with her husband appropriating her image; revealing her innermost feelings through an endless stream of portraits.  Irene and Gil are both part Native American, and a portion of the book addresses their struggles within the Native American community and how their heritage has shaped their marriage.

The bulk of the book focuses on Irene’s manipulation of Gil.  Throughout the book, you begin to wonder how credible a narrator Irene is, as her alcoholism becomes more apparent and her manipulations become more over the top. It’s an interestingly written book that takes a frank look at a disintegrating marriage, a home life that’s dangerous for all of its participants, and how abuse can shape the lives of both children and parents.


2 Responses to “#CBR4 Review 17: Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich”


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #17: Shadow Tag by Louise Edrich « Cannonball Read IV - April 1, 2012

    […] More… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by hellokatieo in 3 stars – a good book and tagged CBR4, families, hellokatieo, louise edrich, Native American, shadow tag […]

  2. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #18: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan « Cannonball Read IV - April 3, 2012

    […] is a quick read worth reading. The last book I read, Louise Erdrich’s Shadow Tag, included an extensive discussion of whether our lives consist of moments. The husband in that […]

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