Jerkwater by Jamie Zerndt is set in Mercer, Wisconsin. It’s typical small jerkwater town, except for the rotests for Native American fishing rights. There isn’t a specific date but in 1983 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Native Americans could spearfish in lakes they had previously relinquished. So if I had to guess I would say that the book takes place in the mid-80s.
Read more about it here: Native American fishing rights article
No one really wants to admit that they are racist. However, are the fishermen who are protesting against the Native American fishing rights really and truly concerned about whether a spear is used or not?
The story is told from the point of view of three characters – Shawna, Kay and Douglas. Shawna is a Native American with a disdain for white people, especially the man who killed her mother and his best friend. She is also neighbors with Kay and Doug. Kay is Doug’s mother and also a possible alcoholic widow in the early stages of dementia.
They are all trying to find their way in the world. Shawna wants to kill a man. She stalks him for awhile. Will she deal with her issues before she winds up in jail?
Douglas has taken over his dad’s mechanic shop but it’s not his career of choice. Will he follow his true passion or stay in the shop?
There are some funny parts in the book. Kay can be amusing even though parts of her behavior are related to the dementia. We all know and love someone like Kay – brutally honest and probably had a drink with breakfast.
Most people will enjoy this book. If the reader is against Native American fishing rights – then they are too petty for this book.