The Book in Search of April Raintree

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The book In Search of April Raintree, by Beatrice Culleton Mosionier, is about the trials and tribulations of two sisters growing up in the foster system. The author writes about these two young sisters and writes about the struggles in their lives. She talks about the social system, stereotypes, drug, alcohol abuse, and the girls on-going battle to fit in with society to become ‘normal’. April Raintree is a twenty-four-year old Métis woman, and she tells a story about herself and her younger sister Cheryl’s lives. As small children, April and Cheryl are taken away from their alcoholic parents and are put into different foster families, where they have different experiences. Cheryl is encouraged to be proud of her Native ancestry by the Macadam’s family and develops a strong and confident identity. April on the other hand is sent to live with the DeRossier family. She suffers through abuse and discrimination against her Métis heritage, which makes her feel a deep shame of belonging to the Métis people and she wishes to lead a ‘white’ life. As an adult, April tries her best to succeed into white society and she believes she has reached her goal when she marries the white lawyer named Bob Radcliff. Her marriage fails due to the discrimination of her mother-in-law Mrs. Radcliff. But due to the affair of her husband to another woman named Heather and April must confess to herself that she does not fit into white society either. She also finds out that Bob was only married to her in spite of his mother. Cheryl manages to find her father, and she discovers the truth: Not only were April and Cheryl’s parents unable to take care for their children due to their addiction to alcohol, but their mother also committed suicide because she did not see another way out of her depression and shame. This news destroys Cheryl’s self-identity and function as a trigger of her fateful development. The feelings of disappointment and shame lead Cheryl into a life of alcoholism and prostitution, which in turn results in the rape of April by three men who mistake her for Cheryl. Only when April learns that she was mistaken for Cheryl she recovers from that trauma. But Cheryl is not able to overcome her shame and guilt, and she finally decides that suicide is her last resort, and she Jumps off of a bridge like her mother. After Cheryl’s death April learns about everything Cheryl was suffering from and also learns about Cheryl’s son Henry. April decides to take care of Cheryl’s son and is finally able to accept her Native heritage and to develop a proud and self-confident Métis identity. April is of mixed blood and has pale skin. She is a very smart young girl growing up. She feels the need to protect her younger sister Cheryl while they are still living at home. When she is removed from her home, and gets placed with the Dions, she gets the love, and attention that she needs as a child. They teach her many things that help to improve her life skills. She then finds out that Mrs. Dion is sick, and gets moved into another foster home to live with the De Rossiers. While living with the DeRossiers, she becomes very introverted and made to do all of the household chores. If she does not obey the rules or not do her chores, she will get the strap. Her sister Cheryl comes to live with them for a short bit until they decide to run away. Cheryl gets put back into a different home, and they decide to punish April by being more of a slave than she already is. In school, there is a writing contest, so April decides to take part, and tell her story about living with the DeRossiers. One of her teachers reads the paper, and asks her if it is a true story, and she says yes. Her teacher then calls her social worker, and April gets a new worker and he finally comes to remove her from the DeRossier Family. April feels that she is free from the foster system at this point, and now attends St. Bernadette’s Academy. She tells her new...
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