cover image Crazy Horse's Girlfriend

Crazy Horse's Girlfriend

Erika T. Wurth. Curbside Splendor, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-940430-43-0

Striving to bring the modern plight of the poverty-stricken Native population to light, Wurth's debut novel brings us a tale that is long on vulgarity but short on that essential sympathetic element. Sixteen-year-old Margaritte, a drug dealer in a run-down Colorado town, has plenty of reasons to hate the world, but her over-reliance on swearing crosses the line from realistic into distracting as she sneaks out to deal drugs and party in abandoned buildings. There is potential for true vulnerability beneath her tough-chick shell, but we are shown little more than what she shows the rest of the world and she becomes little more than a caricature of young wildness and rage. Likewise, her relationships with others, including with her parents%E2%80%94an abusive alcoholic and his hopeless wife%E2%80%94are full of missed opportunities for depth and complexity. Margaritte's own casual dismissal of being attacked early on makes it far too easy to likewise dismiss or gloss over the horrors and dangers of extreme poverty and drug culture detailed in the narrative. (Sept.)