OUR BEARINGS by Molly McGlennen Review — Knowing Home

An homage to a land long forgotten while it exists in modern day Minnesota, Our Bearings fuses family drama, Native history and the way nature has a go at the world. It does so with both dry factual instruction and poetic imagery, in the way cartography informs you of its knowledge while illustrating its topographical highlights.

Molly McGlennen’s words come through you, not at you

There is so much injustice buried in the past of this country that it is consistently difficult to find words that reach us without being rejected out of fear of their guilt coming for us, in this writer’s view. Our Bearings speaks its truths in short anecdotes and timely comparisons, the way truth comes out of mouths of babes - unapologetic, untainted, unquestionable. It both honors the history of the author’s family and recognizesthe tangible, acknowledged new land walked “by streams of travelers whose feet never touch the earth.” By doing so, the Anishinaabe live through the words of a great-great granddaughter who struggles to find her (and our) bearings through this powerful poetic compilation.

Our Bearings is chaptered into the four elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire

Using the elements to guide mirror displays of the before and current, McGlennen does not let the reader forget we are all visitors on this planet. As she releases one memory after another, nestled into vivid imagery, are also her needs and desires.  It is ever so coolly, delivered, as if the author, herself, was surprised by the discovery of their existence. Sometimes, those discoveries uncovered by a process of elimination. Sometimes, knowing who we are starts with a list of who are not.


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For more information please visit OUR BEARINGS Book website.

Photos Courtesy of University of Arizona Press


Tonika Todorova

About the Author:

Tonika Todorova is a freelance writer and director that goes by the self imposed title of Adventure Architect. She experiences a lot of performance with her eight year old son, Jaxon, by her side, and his reflections on Chicago theatre offer a refreshingly new perspective for her, and hopefully, others. Jaxon practices autonomous learning and is proud to be an Albany Park Chicago Children's Choir singer.

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