I have one question for you, Person Reading This Blog In Search of a Good Book: Do you care about America? Okay two questions: Do you care about America and do you like adventure? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, The Blue Tattoo by Margot Mifflin should be in your hands like yesterday.
This is the story of Olive Oatman, a young Mormon girl being dragged West by her delusional father when her family is attacked and mostly massacred by a group of very hungry Indians in 1851. After a year as a slave to one tribe, Olive is adopted by the Mohave who made her one of their own to such an extent that she receives the titular blue tattoo on her chin, effectively making her the only white American woman in the 1850s with a tattoo. It is also the story of a time in America when everything is changing in such a dramatic way that even if Olive hadn’t been “rescued” after 5 years with the native people of America, she certainly wouldn’t have been able to live with them much longer. The Mohave, as well as a lot of other tribes, were about to be exterminated and/or forcibly removed from their homeland.
In this book Margot Mifflin examines a story that’s been told over and over again, looking for answers about who Olive Oatman really was, what drove her captors and adopted family and how Olive’s narrative continues to massaged and used to make a variety of points that may or may not have anything to do with Olive Oatman.
This is a historical nonfiction book, not usually my favorite genre, and I read it in two days. Seriously, stop reading this post and buy the goddamn book!