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Into the Canyon – Seven Years in Navajo Country was the best memoir I’ve read in years. Because author Lucy Moore and her husband discovered the Southwest during the same year I did, the book captured my interest immediately. Moore begins the story by describing their relocation. After graduation and marriage, she and her husband Bob loaded up their Ford Bronco and drove from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Chinle, Arizona. Fresh from law school, Bob would work for the new legal services program on the Navajo reservation. He was to be a lawyer practicing in Chinle, Arizona, the first ever for the Navajo people. Lucy had to carve out a role for herself, which she did with gusto, courage and a wonderful sense of humor.

As the book progresses, Lucy describes the huge gaps between the Anglo perspective and Navajo ways. This is the thread that created the most interest for me, and it also makes the account extremely rewarding. Bridging the differences and acculturating offered constant challenges It was fascinating to see how Lucy met them. Though she left Navajo country to rejoin the “outside world,” her seven years with the Navajos is very much still in her heart.

I’ve lived and loved a Southwestern life for half a century and have a keen interest in the Native Americans of New Mexico and Arizona. Lucy Moore’s memoir enlightened and delighted. Her experience was total immersion. The closest I’ve come to that might have been my several years of teaching ninth graders at Santa Fe Indian School. (The fictionalized version of that experience is my latest novel All the Wrong Places.)

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Join Elaine every other Monday for reflections on adoption and life. Your comments are invited. Currently accepting guest blog posts: If you have an adoption story you’d like to share, please submit your idea and contact information to deardiaryreadings@me.com

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