The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Reviewed by E. Mankowski, May 2021

The Round House, written by Louise Erdrich, follows the main character Joe as he narrates the summer when his life changed irreparably. Throughout the novel, Joe is faced with the increasing responsibility of being an adult, despite only being thirteen years old. When his mother is attacked and almost killed, Joe’s father enlists him in reading through case files to determine the identity of the attacker. Despite the burden of adult discussions, Joe still manages to be a kid. His coming of age story includes a variety of complex themes, but also simpler aspects, such as hanging out with friends and causing mayhem. The ending of the novel solidifies the loss of Joe’s innocence, however, and catapults him past the sweet ignorance of childhood and into the harsh reality of adulthood. High school readers who enjoy fictional stories, suspense, and coming of age stories will thoroughly enjoy this novel.