cover image Streams to the River, River to the Sea: A Novel of Sacagawea

Streams to the River, River to the Sea: A Novel of Sacagawea

Scott O'Dell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-395-40430-0

Once again O'Dell turns to the Native American for his subject, and in this novel he brings to life the mysterious Shoshone girl Sacagawea, interpreter and guide for Lewis and Clark. Told from Sacagawea's point of view ,this is an honest, unsparing account of Indian life and the approaching whites. From the beginning, Sacagawea is calm and practical but fiercely independent; these attributes enable her to survive the succession of traumas that will prepare her for Lewis and Clark. Forced into marriage with a French trader, she is then hired with her husband by Lewis and Clark for her knowledge of the Shoshone language and lands. Sacagawea's narration of their trek often becomes unbearably agonizing as both she and her infant son are nearly killed several times. But her journey to the great sea is not only physical. It is a spiritual journey as well, as she matures in wisdom and in her love for William Clark. Finally, having been offered the white world and Clark's love, she turns away, back to her Shoshone life. This is as quiet and intriguing a re-creation as Sacagawea herself. (12-up)