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That Day by the Creek Review by Amanda HopkinsA Novel About the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864
PO Box 336144
Greeley, CO 80633
History, the subject that can be boring and dull, but it doesn’t have to be. In our home, we love to have our history brought to life by reading living history books. Finding those can be hit or miss. When we started reading That Day by the Creek by John Buzzard, I knew instantly that this was a hit!
In this 200+ page paperback book we follow Joshua Frasier, a recent seminary graduate as he travels out to Colorado in hopes to help teach the Cheyenne. Little does he know, but he is the one who will be learning! He finds himself married to a Cheyenne woman and the step father to her daughter. While talking with the Cheyenne leaders in hopes of teaching them, he learns about the corrupt and unfair US Indian’s Affairs department.
These corruptions and lies are what lead to That Day by the Creek. Poor Josh feels like he is there as a peacemaker, yet he is sided with the enemy. We watch as he fights for God’s work. Even knowing what the outcome will be, we are so drawn in to the characters and what they feel, that we feel with them. We are left hoping and praying that things will be different.
When reading a book based on real events, I thought that I would be bored with facts. This is not true with this book. We meet these characters, and while some of them are real, not all of them are. Yet, the author does not allow us to feel that way. These characters are either our friends or enemies. We feel like we are talking to them and walking alongside them during this time.
One thing that I appreciated about the writing of this story is that the author did not take sides. He wrote about the evils and the good of both sides. He is honest with us about the unethical people who were taking advantage of the cultural differences and misunderstandings. This made me trust him more. I could form my own opinions and feelings. I got to decide who I felt was right or wrong. This was not decided for me and this makes a huge difference when talking about a tragedy like this.
I loved and hated this book at the same time. I hated the outcome. I hated what happened. I hated that something like this could happen. Yet I loved the story line. I loved that I was in the story with the characters. I felt the love of God and family that Josh had. I felt the pain, fear and anger. No longer is this just a thing that happened in history, now this is a part of me. I won’t forget this for I felt like I lived this.
I had a hard time reading the actual battle scenes. In fact, this was the longest part of reading for me. I had to take breaks. I had to step back. I allowed my 16-year-old to read this book, and while most of it would be ok for the other kids to listen to, the battle scene is just too much for them right now. This is history. This is the truth. And sometimes the truth is hard to take in.
I am so thankful to have this book on my shelf. This is a book that will be read by all the kids, when they are ready to read it. This is something that we all need to remember so that we can learn from it. We need to know and not forget about That Day by the Creek.
—Product review by Amanda Hopkins, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016