Author: Brandon Hobson
Released: February 2nd, 2021
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Police brutality, drug abuse
The Removed is yet another book that I might not have heard of (and thus considered reading) if not for BOTM. Written by Brandon Hobson, it’s a novel that weaves together myths, family history, and the process of grief.
Fifteen years ago, Ray-Ray was shot by a police officer. From that moment onward, the path for this one family changed forever. The Echota’s each had their own way of processing the loss, and for many it has taken years to come to terms with what has happened.
It’s taken even longer to approach a world where they’re willing to forgive and forget. Interwoven through their grief, and their journeys, are details and legends from their heritage – as the anniversary of Ray-Ray’s death also falls upon a Cherokee National Holiday.
“Look, look. The stories all have something in common, right? They’re like medicine, but without the bad taste, right? It’s good for you.”
To be clear, The Removed is far from being a happy novel. That’s okay. It deals with heavy topics, such as the loss of a family member, and the different ways everyone deals with it. In that sense, that makes for a beautiful foundation.
Speaking of, I did love that The Removed was steeped in Cherokee legend and lore. It made for a very different reading experience for me. It raised a lot of interesting points, and even touched upon the racism and discrimination many face, even today.
All of that in mind, I didn’t end up loving The Removed as much as I hoped. I adored the foundation, as I said. However, it’s the characters that I had trouble with. I should probably mention that the novel is told through multiple perspectives; namely Maria, Sonja, and Edgar.
I actually really enjoyed Maria’s story the most, while I had trouble appreciating Sonja and Edgar’s to the same degree. Though they did a solid job of adding tension to the tale, I will give them that!
The Removed is a novel rife with allegory, some easy to spot, while others take a bit more effort. The end result is a novel that will almost certainly force the reader to think and process the world in a different light.